Nutrient management is essential. Economically, it’s critical to keep nutrients in the fields and it’s also environmentally important.

Doug Carter

Pheasant Avenue Farms

Audubon County

Farming Operation

  • 4th-generation family corn, soybean and hog farmer in Audubon County in west central Iowa
  • Enrolled in Soil Health Partnership
  • President of Audubon County Corn and Soybean Association
  • Member of Iowa Soybean Association’s District Advisory Council


4R Plus Practices Used

  • No-till on all acres; minimally invasive vertical-till utilized to inject hog manure
  • Utilizes manure from hog finisher to enhance crop fertility
  • Cover crops on one-third of acres
  • Miles of terraces, waterways and buffer strips
  • Grassed headlands on steepest land
  • Grid soil sampling determines application rate of nutrients


Results Seen

  • 1 goal of conservation practices of eliminating erosion has been achieved
  • No-till improves soil structure to support equipment
  • Adding cover crops improves organic matter and sequesters nutrients
  • Attention to nutrient management saves on input costs


Plans for the Future

  • Become comfortable planting into green cover crops
  • Experiment with mixes of cover crops and application to improve weed suppression
  • Continue to attend field days and research practices that enhance soil health

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to ask Doug a question about his farming operation.

Spring 2020: Benefits of No-Till Enhanced by Cover Crops

Twenty years ago when Audubon County farmer Doug Carter realized he needed to change tillage systems, the rate of adoption for no-till was fairly slow. He recalls “a lot of unknowns” and a steep learning curve, but he was determined to make it work to stop erosion on his sloping land.

“There have been a lot of advancements made to no-till and planter equipment since I switched tillage systems,” Carter recalled. “Looking back I know the change had to be made to stop erosion.”

Through the years, Carter says no-till has resulted in other soil health improvements.

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