Integrating Cover Crop Seeding and Strip Tillage into a One Pass System

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2017: $6,650.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2019
Grant Recipient: Lane Ridge Farms
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Lee Thompson
Lane Ridge Farms


  • Agronomic: corn, rapeseed, rye, soybeans, vetches


  • Crop Production: conservation tillage, cover crops, nutrient cycling, strip tillage
  • Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration
  • Production Systems: dryland farming
  • Soil Management: earthworms, nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil quality/health

    Proposal summary:


    The problem is that I’m getting concerned about the sustainability of our current management system (corn/soybean rotation, conventional tillage) and would like to implement cover crops and strip tillage on my farm. The second part of the problem is seeding cover crops and strip tillage require two passes across the field, that’s why I’d like to integrate the two systems into one pass. With the low prices, lack of time and labor, I’m trying to reduce trips across my fields and make sure my farm is sustainable for the next generation. I feel these problems are faced by farmers all over the North Central Region and I would like to try and solve these problems!

    Wind erosion (black snow) in the winter from our conventionally tilled fields and I don’t like to see my expensive land (and all of the neighbors fields too) just blow away! There are very few farmers in our area who have tried cover crops. I read lots of articles of how farmers south of us are implementing cover crops but we are so far north that everyone seems afraid to try anything. Figuring out which mix of species can provide winter cover to our land, spring growth and residue for the early growing season (may/june). It just seems like our weather is so wild that we get these huge rain events in the April-June and even though most of our land is fairly level (A slopes), we still get soil erosion. There is some university data on strip till, but I really don’t like to make any major decisions until I see how something performs on my farm.

    I believe that solving this problem is very important and will benefit the farmers and ranchers in the North Central Region in many ways.


    The focus of this grant is to improve soil health, reduce soil erosion and make farming more sustainable while strip tilling and seeding a cover crop. These are not innovative practices by themselves but when combined become an innovative practice.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Combine cover crop seeding with strip tillage into a one pass system following soybean harvest and compare results to conventional tillage.
    2. Increase the adoption of cover crops in our area by making area farmers more aware of how cover crops can benefit our environment and that strip till, cover crops can work in our area.
    3. Benefit farmers economically by creating a one pass seeding system, saving them a trip across the field and other expenses associated with that.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.