A no-till farmer since 1971, David has been using cover crops extensively since 1978. During that time, he has reduced chemical inputs on his farm by 70 percent, and eliminated all chemicals on some of his land. At the same time, David says he's also increasing the organic matter in his soil by up to 1 percent per year, improving water infiltration and reducing run off, and achieving higher yields.
“Cutting back on commercial inputs has been a tough one for me, because we’ve always been taught we need so many pounds of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash to grow a decent corn crop,” David told the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “We’re learning now with cover crops that we don’t need to buy those additional nutrients because we can bring them up from deeper in the soil. They just weren’t available to the crop before.”
He is currently participating in Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) funded research into nitrogen fixing cover crops and an NRCS grant to study how cover crop species transport nutrients to the soil's surface.
“I’m trying to pass on what we’ve learned here. I don’t want everyone to reinvent the wheel. I want people to see our failures and our successes,” he told NRCS.
Join David for a twilight tour as he shares his innovative cover cropping techniques and the tremendous impact they have had on his farm.
This tour is part of the 2013 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series featuring free public tours of some of Ohio’s finest sustainable and organic farms. Seventeen tours and workshops, held between June and November, are being sponsored by OEFFA. The series is promoted in cooperation with the Ohio State University Sustainable Agriculture Team and the Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts, who are sponsoring additional tours.
Brandt's Farm is located at 6100 Basil-Western Rd., Carroll, OH 43112.