Experimental Farming in the Name of Soil Health: Steve Siverling’s Story

Friday, August 19, 2016

My name is Steve Siverling, and I plant corn, soybeans and a few small grains on 350 acres in northern Wisconsin.  But what I am growing is soil health; I am a biological farmer.

I began my soil health journey and evolution to a biological farmer 20 years ago when I purchased 80 acres near my farm. The soil pH was low, around 5.5, and there was less than one percent organic matter. I couldn’t make immediate improvements to the land that would allow me to plant a crop that could tolerate those conditions, but I had to try something.

My agronomy consultants talked to me about soil health and building soil structure, and I listened. I added one ton per acre of calcium lime to half the ground, manure to the other half and started a corn-soybean rotation. Behind each corn crop, I chopped the residue and applied manure, both in the fall and spring. Behind the soybeans I planted a cover crop of cereal rye after every harvest.  And after several years of this treatment, I started to notice a change.

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Category: Agriculture, Regional News