As we are getting ready to plant this spring I wanted to share with you why we plant GMO seeds on our farm.
We use GMO corn on our farm to reduce the use of chemicals and tillage. Sometimes you have a win/ win situations. This is one of them. The corn seed we plant allows us to less chemicals and pesticides. Some of our land is highly erodible. This means you have to be very careful when tilling this soil. Tilling actually breaks down the structure of soil and decreases organic matter. Some of the land we farm had lost feet of top soil from years and years of tillage. Most of this loss was due to wind erosion. After tillage the soil is vulnerable because the structure is loose and small pieces are easily picked by the wind and blown away. Some erosion is due to water. Where we farm our average rain fall is 15-20 inches/ year. Sometimes this rain comes in the form of thunderstorms or very hard rain. This type of moisture combined with our rolling hills landscape can make for a large amount of erosion very quickly too.
We use GMOs on our farm to conserve water. Since we farm in area that has limited rainfall and where drought is common, we take advantage of tools to conserve water. Two of the biggest tools we use to conserve water on our farm are No-Till farming and the use of GMO corn. No-till means that you do not plow, rip or open up the soil. Special planters are used to place seed in the soil without disrupting the soil and organisms that make up the structure. GMO corn allows us to control weeds without cultivating the soil. Anytime you open the ground mechanically or disturb it, moisture is lost. The GMO corn is never planted 2 years in a row on the same land. We use a rotation with spring and winter wheat, sunflowers and sometimes flax, oats or peas depending on what the soil needs. Since planting GMO corn on our farm we have increased the organic matter, reduced erosion, and can adjust to drought conditions better.
We use GMOs on our farm to grow crops we couldn’t in the past. In the past corn was only planted in very small amounts because our growing season is short and rainfall is limited and with the amount of tillage to control weeds it was not an option for a major crop. On the few acres planted to corn it usually only made silage and was seldom harvested for grain. The benefits to the soil from adding corn to the land are many. The corn roots grow through hard compacted soil and create air and water passages throughout the soil profile. When it rains hard the soil is able to take it in creating less run off and erosion. This supports a cleaner water supply and puts the water where the plants can use it.
We use GMOs on our farm to grow more food /acre. The use of GMO corn on our farm has allowed the land to produce more corn, wheat, sunflowers and peas. Other crops can potentially be introduced. Not only does the addition of GMO crops benefit the land they also help increase the amount of other food crops we grow. That is a win/win situation for the land and the people.