It’s obvious where David Moose’s property line ends and the neighboring farm field begins.
Moose’s field has a light brown hue, coated by the dead cereal rye and corn cobs that remain from the cover crop he planted in October. Across his property line, the traditionally tilled earth is a darker brown, uncolored by cover crops.
“Cover crops, they’ve been kind of the buzzword for the last five to six years,” said Moose, who farms corn and soybeans on about 1,500 acres south of Springfield, Ill.
Moose, whose family has been farming for generations, stopped using traditional tilling methods when he began taking over a larger role in farm operations from his father 32 years ago.
In the last several years, he’s added cover crops to further stabilize the soil, help build up even more organic matter and control weeds. Now, he’s trying to reduce the amount of fertilizer he uses by applying it in the spring rather than the fall so that the new crop can better absorb it.
It’s these types of practices agricultural products giant Monsanto is trying to refine and promote among farmers, because if it wants to live up to its pledge to go carbon neutral by 2021, it will need a lot of help from its customers.