Keeping the Breadbasket Full
Cultivating America’s breadbasket
Wheat made its first appearance on Kansas soil in 1839, transforming the fertile state from prairie to endless waves of amber grain. Today, Kansas is known as the nation’s breadbasket, producing nearly onefifth of all the wheat grown in the United States. Rooted in its national heritage, many farmers are working hard to sustainably maintain the wheat industry in a state where the threats of climate change are already being felt. One such farmer is Derek Stochman, manager of a third-generation 2,500-acre crop and cattle farm.
Soil is an essential, non-renewable and often overlooked resource, so maintaining its ability to sustain plants, animals and people is a top priority for Derek. He uses a minimal-till and no-till system, planting wheat, soybean, corn, sorghum and sunflower seeds directly into undisturbed soil, resulting in numerous environmental and climate benefits. These multiply when combined with other sustainable practices such as cover crops which he credits with, “improved soil carbon, organic matter and soil pH.”
Similarly, cattle on the farm are managed through a system of rotational grazing where only a portion of pasture is grazed at a time while the remainder rests. Derek tells us that resting grazed paddocks improves soil development by allowing forage plants to recover and deepen their root systems, boosting soil biomass and fertility. Together, these soil health measures have also improved the farm’s water efficiency “by reducing runoff and increased water holding capacity within the soil,” says Derek.
A valued partnership
As a seed dealer, Derek recognises the importance of maintaining access to reliable crop inputs. His family have been “strong supporters of UPL” for the past four years, which he says is due to the “superior manufacturing quality, performance effectiveness and reliability” of our products. One input changing the game on his farm is IMIFLEX, a broad-spectrum and residual herbicide which controls even the toughest grass and broadleaf weeds, helping his sorghum reach its full potential.
Protecting the family legacy
Derek’s farm has grown substantially since he took over his grandfather’s share of ownership and he looks forward to the day that his “son follows in his footsteps and adds a fifth generation to the farm’s legacy.” We are proud to work side-by-side with Derek as he passes down his knowledge of how to nurture the land they farm so that it continues to thrive and support his family well into the future.