Grow and Tell: Bring out the Crimp

You can look at Levi Lyle’s tractor and see that he farms smarter, not harder. With a front-mounted roller crimper and planter in tow, Levi only needs one pass to terminate cover crops and plant the seeds of his next harvest.

He’s saving time and fuel, but the other benefits are equally valuable. The thick mat of crimped cereal rye reduces erosion, improves soil health, and replaces herbicides.

Cover crops nurture Levi’s soil and soul. “The prairie was once 60 million acres in Iowa. When we grow rye this tall, I get a sense of what it might have been like to be out on it.”

Watch this short Grow and Tell video to learn how Levi is benefiting, personally and professionally, from adopting cover crops and no-till farming methods.

Grow and Tell is a new video series in which farmers share their experiences using USDA programs and offer first-person advice to other farmers.

Laura Crowell is the state public affairs specialist for USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Iowa. She can be reached at Spencer Miller is a public affairs specialist serving USDA's Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Risk Management Agency. He can be reached at