Reducing tillage has increased our competitive edge. We see significant cost savings and our yields have not gone down. Our yield curve continues to improve. Our goal is to be profitable and do what is right for the land.

Matt and Nancy Bormann

Bormann AG, LTD.

Kossuth County

Farming Operation

  • 5th-generation family farm in Kossuth County in north central Iowa
  • Shares equipment and labor with family and offers custom farming services
  • Full corn and soybean rotation; also grows seed corn and soybeans
  • Nancy is an agronomist, Certified Crop Advisor and County Soil and Water District commissioner
  • Matt is past president of the Kossuth County Farm Bureau; remains active in the organization
  • 2013 Farm Bureau Young Farmer Achievement Award winners
  • Both involved with local FFA chapter as mentors

4R Plus Practices Used

  • No-till, strip-till and vertical-till on 100% of acres
  • Cover crops after seed corn and as many other acres as possible
  • Grassed waterways where they are needed
  • Zone soil testing every three to four years determines nutrient prescription
  • Split-application of nutrients provides plants what they need
  • Three-pass nitrogen program, polymer-coated urea in the fall




Results Seen

  • Switching tillage systems has improved soil quality and water infiltration
  • Reducing tillage systems has reduced equipment and fuel costs; provides more time with family
  • Placing nutrients in strips highly reduces the likelihood of them moving downstream
  • Cover crops suppress weeds, trap nutrients and improve water infiltration and soil health
  • During wet springs, soybeans are planted sooner into green cover crops
  • Less intensive tillage along with cover crops have reduced compaction and improved soil structure for fieldwork

Plans for the Future

  • Continue increasing cover crop acres and experiment with seed mixtures
  • Research and field trials of micronutrient combinations
  • Remain in contact with landlords to share how 4R Plus practices protect their investment
  • Be an active advocate for soil conservation by attending and hosting field day





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Harvest 2020: 4R Plus Practices Lead to Efficiencies

Two and a half weeks start to finish was a quick harvest season for Kossuth County farmers Matt and Nancy Bormann. They put the additional time saved with the quick harvest to good use this fall to plant cover crops, get their strips tilled and even improve a waterway.

Given difficult growing conditions for much of the state, the Bormann’s aren’t complaining. It was drier than normal, but the lack of heavy rain early meant they didn’t lose yield to drown outs, Nancy said, meaning they harvested whole fields. They also missed the derecho.

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Summer 2020: 4R Plus Program Helps to Keep Crops on Timeline

Nancy and Matt Bormann from Kossuth County have their fingers crossed that the rest of the growing season goes as well as planting. Thanks to a great stretch of weather, everything but the seed corn was planted in an eight-day stretch in late April and early May.

Planting soybeans into the cover crop worked great. “We went right into the green standing rye and then terminated it that day or the day after. All of our soybeans germinated fine,” Nancy said.

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Spring 2020: Soil Prep Simplified for Planting

On the mostly flat landscape, Kossuth County’s Matt and Nancy Bormann have peace of mind knowing the land is prepped for spring planting. Over the last 10 years they gradually changed tillage practices and now farm using a variety of no-till, strip-till and vertical-till to keep the soil as undisturbed as possible. That, combined with planting cover crops on as many acres as possible, has significantly improved soil structure for timely spring planting.

In the full corn-soybean rotation, soybeans are no-tilled into green cover crops, or vertical-tilled in one pass.  Strips are prepared in the fall for spring corn planting.

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