My livelihood relies on the top six inches of soil. I do everything I can to protect and improve the soil and natural resources for generations to come.

Adam Nechanicky

Tama County

Farming Operation

  • 4th-generation corn and soybean farmer in Tama County in east central Iowa
  • Grows hay for cow-calf-to-finish operation
  • Sells and custom-applies cover crop seed; other custom farming
  • County soil and water conservation board director
  • Serves on Buckingham Cooperative Board of Directors

4R Plus Practices Used

  • No-till on soybean acres and strip-till on corn acres
  • Cover crops planted on virtually all acres; interseeds cover crop on some acres
  • Grassed waterways and field borders
  • Soil sampling determines nutrient application; soil health testing
  • Split application of N; half at planting

Results Seen

  • Reduced tillage improves soil structure and prevents erosion
  • Fewer tillage passes saves fuel, time and wear on machinery
  • Cover crops enhance erosion control, suppress weeds, sequester nutrients and improve water infiltration
  • Grazing cover crops is economically advantageous
  • Cover crops have lowered herbicide and nutrient costs
  • Strips enhance precision of nutrient application
  • Yield curve has accelerated


Plans for the Future

  • Add prairie strips along creek beds and experiment with cover crop termination
  • Continue to cut back on herbicide and nutrient inputs
  • Start a newsletter to inform landlords of 4R Plus practices used and benefits being seen
  • Research how rotational grazing could be implemented
  • Continue to attend education events to learn how farmers are benefiting from 4R Plus practices


Click here to ask Adam a question about his farming operation.

Harvest 2020: Building on 4R Plus Practice Success

Farming through floods, drought and a derecho is an occupational hazard for farmers, but usually not all three in the same year. Despite it all, Tama County farmer Adam Nechanicky is looking forward to the next planting season, and implementing 4R Plus practices to continue to improve his soil.

“I lost 40 acres of corn to a flood this spring, ran out of moisture this summer during that long dry spell and then had some corn flipped over by the derecho,” he said. “We had a great spell of weather for harvest, though, and, it has been great this fall for strip-till.”

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Summer 2020: Flexible Management for Flexible Conditions

Planting into head-high cover crops wasn’t the plan, but making adjustments to improve soil health and the overall productivity of the farm is business as usual for Tama County farmer Adam Nechanicky.

“The seed beans didn’t show up until early June. By then the rye was taller than the planter boxes and when I jumped off the tractor I was eye-to-eye with the top of the plants,” he said.

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Spring 2020: Encouraged by Early Cover Crop Growth

As temperatures rose in mid-March, Tama County farmer Adam Nechanicky saw signs of spring. Greening cover crops are encouraging after limited growth in the fall. After six years of experimenting, he’s seeing soil health benefits accumulate and now he’s comfortable planting corn and soybeans into green cover crops.

“Terminating the cover crop as I plant in the spring saves time and money. Last year, cover crops suppressed weeds and eliminated a post-emergence herbicide pass,” said Nechanicky. “I was in the field trying to find a weed and there was nothing to spray.”

About a decade ago, Nechanicky switched to a no-till system for soybeans and makes strips in the fall for the corn seed and nutrients.

Click here for the full story.