WHEN DARREN PETERS SAW THE EFFECTS OF SOIL EROSION FIRSTHAND IN HIS OWN FIELDS, HE KNEW PREVENTATIVE MEASURES HAD TO BE TAKEN RIGHT AWAY.
This led the first-generation farmer to implement numerous soil conservation features, conservation tillage practices, and progressive pest management techniques on Somerset Farms that not only improve soil and crop health, but also provide wildlife habitat and reduce the impacts of climate change.
Thousands of feet of farmable berms, grassed waterways, and diversion terraces have been installed on Somerset Farms in an effort to reduce soil erosion. These measures not only work to prevent soil loss, they also increase the amount of farmable land that would normally be lost to erosion. With more control over how soil stays in the field, crops are healthier, which results in higher yields at the end of the season.
Through participation in the Alternative Land Use (ALUS) Program, Peters has retired 12 acres of high sloped land that, if used in crop rotation, would have contributed to further soil loss. This has prevented drainage into neighbouring waterways, with the acreage now a thriving, undisturbed green space.
Moving away from traditional moldboard plowing in favour of using a Roudebush disc as well as strip cropping has helped to keep residue on the ground, leaving the soil intact with less run off. In addition, spreading local manure to build organic matter and put extra nutrients into the soil has reduced the need for artificial products to achieve good, rich, and healthy soil.
"We knew we had to change what we were doing in order to sustain the soil for the future."