Kerfeld Hill-View Farm: HASP Return on Investment

Region

Stearns County, Minn.

Timeline

2019 - present

Audience

Dairy and row crop farmers

Topics

Conservation Story

Tim Kerfeld was motivated to adopt conservation practices to reduce erosion he saw affecting his soil. He is keeping up with technology and best practices to ultimately leave a healthier farm for the next generation of his family.

Practice Impacts

Overall, contour strip cropping, filter strips, grassed waterways, and WASCOB’s decreased the amount of annual soil erosion by 1.8 tons per acre, and increased the soil carbon score by 0.23, indicating increased soil carbon.

  • Minimum till up to no till: reducing tillage has been a primary practice Kerfeld has used to reduce erosion.
  • Cover crops: Kerfeld plants cover crops in the fall to capture the last of the nutrients and make forage for cattle.
  • Contour strips, filter strips, grassed waterways and sediment control basins: decreased the amount of annual soil erosion by 1.8 tons per acre while increasing the soil carbon score by 0.23 based on modeling assessments.

“We’ve been at it a few years already. What we see is that rather than just growing corn and hay for your cattle, there are other options. And they could be healthier options for your cattle.”

Farm Description

Tim Kerfeld runs a dairy farm with his family. He is the second generation on the farm and his son will be the third. They milk 250 cows and farm 400 acres, growing mostly corn as well as some soybeans, alfalfa, grass mix, and cover crops.

Photo of Tim Kerfeld

You want to keep the ground here… You want to leave the land in a better position than when you got it.

Tim Kerfeld

Overall, contour strip cropping, filter strips, grassed waterways, and water and sediment control basins decreased the amount of annual soil erosion by 1.8 tons per acre, and increased the soil carbon score by 0.23, indicating increased soil carbon.

 

Minimum till to no till: reducing tillage has been a primary practice Kerfeld has used to reduce erosion.

Cover crops: Kerfeld plants cover crops in the fall to capture the last of the nutrients and make forage for cattle.

Contour strips, filter strips, grassed waterways and sediment control basins: decreased the amount of annual soil erosion by 1.8 tons per acre while increasing the soil carbon score by 0.23 based on modeling assessments.

Moving into the Future

Kerfeld believed implementing conservation practices is part of how he keeps up with best practices and improves his land for the next generation.

“I believe conservation is going to continue. We can’t just keep tilling, flipping the earth upside down. We have to keep moving.”

Takeaways

  • Technology and best practices are constantly changing, and farmers have to change with them to stay financially and environmentally sustainable.
  • It takes digging into the numbers to see some of the financial and environmental benefits but the benefits of conservation but some impacts like less erosion you can see on the field.

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