With all of the awards farmers can receive, which is the one that is most talked about and most competitive? The national yield contest. Farmers from around the country compete in the national yield contest, very closely managing their small plots to get bin-busting yields that most ordinary farmers can only dream about. The amount of research, scouting, and applications that these farmers do in a season for their yield contest plots is impressive, however, not scalable to an entire farm in most cases. If you could grow 400 bushel corn on every acre, why wouldn’t you? This intense management and high cost of yield contest plots cannot be replicated on every acre. That’s why we wanted to switch things up a little bit, and recognize some of our own farmers for different achievements.
The Dirty Glove Awards are going to be given out annually to farmers who have shown noteworthy soil health test results. This year, Knute Severson won the Soil Biological Activity award with a test result of 454.59 ppm CO2 Respiration. Tim Gileske won the Soil Health Score Award for having the highest soil health score that we saw this year at 30.02. What do both Knute and Tim have in common that allow them to have such high scores? Livestock! Implementing livestock is often times one of the principles of soil health that gets overlooked. Adding livestock to your farm is a huge undertaking. Most farmers that already have livestock would have a logistical nightmare switching to a grazing system, and it is much more costly compared to a feedlot or confinement barn. However, time and time again we see that implementing grazing on the soil improves soil health dramatically and quickly. Keeping your ground covered, having a living root in the soil, implementing diversity, and minimizing disturbance all lead to better soil health. If you truly want to join the “big leagues” of soil health with farmers like Knute and Tim, implementing livestock grazing is the way to go!
While these farmers may not have had yield contest winning numbers, they had very impressive numbers to show for soil health, and soil health is something that you can scale across your entire farm and utilize to increase your profitability. Increased soil health means more microbial activity and more nutrient cycling. All of this leads to lower fertilizer needs, as nature does the work for you. This is definitely something worth having an award for! Keep an eye out for more Dirty Glove Awards next year from Continuum Ag. Are you going to shoot for being a winner next year? Let’s get you there!