Mitchell Wieben | Clutier

Story Submitted by Shannon Mitchell, Project Coordinator for the Benton/Tama Nutrient Reduction Demonstration Project

Q. Tell us about your operation.
A. Family farm operation, own and rent land in Tama and Benton counties, as well as custom farming and a cow-calf operation.

Q. What water quality practices have you used on your farm?
A. No-tillage on soybeans, strip-tillage on corn including seed corn, and cover crops on seed corn acres and expanding. Mitch puts a variety of cover crops on 800 acres that he farms, as well as approximately 250 acres for other producers, using his Miller sprayer that he had a seedbox unit and drop tubes built for earlier this summer.

In 2015, Mitch let about 25 acres of cereal rye grow until May 18 (over 3 feet tall), he sprayed it with glyphosate and no-till planted soybeans into it. The next day, he rolled the cereal rye to make a mat over the soybeans.  The soybeans emerged evenly with the rest of the field (where the cover crop had been terminated in April.) There was no weed pressure in this portion of the field, and Mitch is planning to use the same termination method for cereal rye before soybeans in 2016, but expanding to several hundred acres.

Q. Why did you voluntarily adopt these practices?
A. Mitch sees the benefit of organic matter with the cover crops, and reduced erosion with all of his practices. These are practices that pay off, sometimes very quickly, such as recently when the cereal rye mat kept weeds from growing in his soybean field.

Q. What, if any, assistance did you receive to incorporate these practices (financial as well as technical)?
A. He's now a participant of the Benton/Tama Nutrient Reduction Demonstration Project, but before this he adopted all these practices on his own. Mitch is a key leader in seed corn production conservation methods for the past 20+ years. At least 4 new Benton/Tama WQI participants this fall mentioned "Mitch Wieben" when signing up to do cover crops for the first time this fall.