Organic No-till in Perennial Cover

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2020: $8,826.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2022
Grant Recipient: owner
Region: North Central
State: North Dakota
Project Coordinator:


  • Agronomic: clovers, hay, millet, oats, peas (field, cowpeas), rye


  • Crop Production: biological inoculants, cover crops, cropping systems, crop rotation, no-till
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Production Systems: dryland farming, organic agriculture

    Proposal summary:

    Using a form of organic no till--the planting of annual grains in perennial cover--we wish to learn if we might achieve a “consistent and reasonable” crop yield above our break even bushels, as well as achieve additional soil and ecological benefits over a two year period.  

    With the assistance of NRCS and Fish and Wildlife advisors in Spring 2019, we chose diverse species (12) on a 120 acre portion of our 260 acres in cropland, and soil samples (37 acres) were submitted to both Ward and Logan Labs to serve as a benchmark. Historic soil tests for the farm are also available.

    Crops of millet and dry peas, as well as pea-pigeon grass hay were harvested in 2019, and all pea land was seeded to winter wheat and additional cover in Fall 2019, using our small Haybuster 107 no till drill.   We will incorporate additional soil tests from terminated 40 acres of alfalfa fields (5 years duration) beginning in Summer 2020 through Spring 2022, insect numbers over time, as well as complimentary carbon sequestration data on 260 acres provided by Indigo, a carbon credit aggregator with whom we are contracted.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Perform ongoing assessments: water infiltration, soil testing/microbial ratios with both Ward and Logan Labs, obtain recommendations from consultants, worm counts, soil compaction levels and carbon sequestration provided by Indigo.
    2. Monitor insect and species population changes on one key 37 acre field with Minot State University instructor.
    3. Assess grain germination in perennial cover and measure crop yields on fields converted to perennial cover. 
    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.