A Wausau, Wis., college is teaching young farmers topsoil protection planting methods
The Northcentral Technical College Agriculture Center for Excellence located in Wausau, Wis., began teaching the next generation of farmers soil stabilization planting techniques. The erosion control education initiative lead by Steve Kruger, crop science instructor and Don Radtke, farm operations manager emphasizes no-till farming and cover crop agriculture.
According to a 2011 report by the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, 31,574 tons of soil have eroded from Wisconsin fields since 2003. No-till and cover crop farming attempt to make soil more stable and less susceptible to erosion.
Farm Operations Manager Don Radtke explained no-till farming, “You don’t dig up the ground before you plant. We have special planters that have a disc on the front that will open the soil, put the seed in place, and pack it in place without disturbing the rest of the soil.”
Similarly, cover crop farming involves preserving the soil’s structure by planting winter crops to keep roots strengthening the soil year round. Currently, only approximately 20% of Wisconsin farms use these soil stabilization farming practices but they are becoming more prevalent.