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Farmer’s focus on soil health results in higher yields

Article cover photo
Peter Kyveryga, ISA director of analytics, provides an explanation of the Interactive Summaries of On-Farm Strip Trials (ISOFAST) tool during a presentation at the WMT Ag Expo yesterday in Cedar Rapids. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

By Bethany Baratta, ISA senior writer

When Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) member Kevin Glanz first cracked open his 2020 calendar, he wrote down this year’s goal: To develop climate-smart agriculture by using climate-resilient systems.

It’s actually the continuation of a goal set more than 10 years ago.

A combination of no-till and cover crops has made his farm near Manchester in northeast Iowa more resilient to changing weather patterns, he told an audience at the WMT Ag Expo in Cedar Rapids this week.

“To achieve this goal, we need to develop management practices that will affect the outcome of the weather events that impact yield,” Glanz said. “Then the question is how do we accomplish this economically?”

By minimizing soil disturbance and keeping the soil covered through the growth of cover crops, Glanz has recognized greater water infiltration and higher yields.

“My soil, even on the poorest ground, is acting like a sponge rather than a funnel to other water sources,” he said.

The focus on no-till and cover crops in his overall soil health program has resulted in an average 51-bushel-per-acre yield increase.

He believes no-till and cover crops could be the next era of agriculture, replacing eras which focused heavily on tillage.

The ISA Research team has conducted countless trials on no-till and cover cropping systems. The team has reached out to farmers across the state to test various systems and rotations to help farmers make profitable decisions.

A recent ISA study supported by the Walton Family Foundation, the Environmental Defense Fund and Iowa-based Regional Strategic, Ltd., found that farmers who are heavily focused on management are profitable when it comes to using cover crops in a corn/soybean rotation.

Learn more at upcoming forums

The results of this study and more will be featured at the ISA Research and Results Forums in February. For more information on the forums, and to find a location near you, follow this link. 

The ISA Analytics team will also share more information about the Interactive Summary of On-Farm Strip Trials (ISOFAST) tool, which was created by the team to help farmers make better agronomic and profitable decisions using on-farm trial data.

Learn how this tool, which combines layers of individual trial locations, overall study results, weather condition information and economic evaluations, can help you make profitable farming decisions this year.

Hear from ISA researchers as they link agronomy, production, conservation and analytics to help you be more profitable. Participate in roundtable conversations with fellow farmers to address your concerns and challenges. Learn how you can engage in policy discussions on issues impacting your farm.

Register for the Research and Results Forum at this link.

Contact Bethany Baratta at

For media inquiries, permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos, please contact Katie James, ISA Public Relations Manager at © 2020 Iowa Soybean Association. All rights reserved.