To follow up on yesterday’s post, meet Jake Freestone again, as he shows us around two local plots of farm ground in the EU.
One plot is planted in cover crops. The cover crops help fix nitrogen into the soil, so that Jake doesn’t have to apply additional synthetic fertilizer before he plants his cash crop. The cover crops reduce soil erosion because all those roots are fixing the soil and protecting it from heavy rains. The cover crops add organic matter to the soil which you can see is teaming with life. The cover crops are a huge benefit to the soil and to the environment.
But the cover crops are only an option if farmers have access to chemicals that will kill the cover crops and prepare the field for the cash crop in the spring. Without access to safe chemicals, the barren field becomes the necessary management tactic.
Without cover crops, heavy tillage is what farmers must do to prepare the field for spring planting. The soil is left vulnerable to heavy rains. No organic matter is added. No nitrogen is fixed, so fertilizers must be applied. More passes over the field use more fuel and equal more air emissions.
Glyphosate and other safe chemicals HELP farmers protect the environment. If you don’t believe me, believe Jake.