Farmer says cover crops help minimize soil erosion and more

A southern Indiana farmer has found success implementing cover crops to increase organic matter, minimize soil erosion, lower input costs, and maintain yield on his farm. 

Pat Bittner began planting cover crops five years ago and witnessed the benefits the following spring when they received 10 inches of rain in less than two hours. 

“Our hills would usually be a wreck after that and with the cereal rye we had out there we had almost no erosion on the hills,” he says. “In the (river) bottoms, I tell people I like dirty rye because I have a lot of conventional tillage farmers around me and when the water comes out of the creek it flows toward us and I think I collected a lot of top soil that year from some of our neighbors.” 

Bittner says he’s continued to see the benefits of regenerative ag since then. 

Advice he has for farmers considering implementing cover crop is “I would strongly suggest that you talk to neighbors or regenerative ag farmers because what I’ve found in regenerative ag is that they’re willing to share not only their successes, but also failures,” he says. “They will help you ease into this process of using cover crops. I would say understand the system as much as you can.” 

Bittner grows corn and soybeans in Vanderburgh County. 

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