Delta Farm Press highlights an Arkansas farmer’s use of cover crops in video series

Delta Farm Press has been publishing a series of videos featuring an Arkansas grower and his son, who have used cover crops to build their soil; combat pest, disease and weed problems; and improve their yields. To raise their profits, they planted cover crops that would make good grazing materials for a herd of cattle.

Part 1: Arkansas growers using cover crops to build soil, bottom line

Farmers know that “new ground,” land that didn’t quite make the cut when other fields were being cleared and planted, sometimes decades ago, is generally more productive than the old – at least for the first few years.

Mike Taylor cleared some new ground in the area where he and his son, Mike Taylor Jr., farm in Phillips County in eastern Arkansas two years ago, and, sure enough, the new out-produced some of the Taylors’ other land.

Part 2: Cover crops, controlled grazing show potential

Mike Taylor says he and his son, Mike Taylor Jr., believe the earlier you can plant cover crops the better. They took that to something of an extreme on land near Crowley’s Ridge when they planted a 13-way mix of cover crops behind short-season corn last summer. The cows they grazed on the cover crops seemed to prefer the plants to corn, as Taylor explained at the Nutrient Management and Edge of Field Monitoring Conference in Memphis, Tenn.

Part 3: Cattle business new enterprise for for Helena, Ark., family

A trip to Ohio and conversations with other farmers led Mike and Mike Jr., to try a completely different approach to double-cropping on their farm in 2015. They planted wheat on several fields last fall, as they’ve done in the past. The “different” was an intensive grazing program that involved putting about 100 head of cattle on the summer grazing fields and moving them from one one-acre paddy to another on a daily basis.

Part 4: Turning rotational crops into a profit center

Mike Taylor and Mike Taylor Jr. are convinced cover crops can help their soils. But they also would like to have them contribute to their bottom line. That’s why they’re grazing 400 head of cattle on the different cover crops they’re planting on their farm near Helena, Ark. Mike Taylor Jr. discussed what they’re doing in this interview at the Southern Soil Health Conference in Jonesboro, Ark.

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