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Iffts believe in cover crops

A drill owned by Jim and Josh Ifft to plant cover crops is shown at the Ifft farm near Fairbury / CIFN photo.

FAIRBURY – Jim and Josh Ifft have been working with cover crops for about five years and even offer custom application and seed.

After a couple of years, the father and son duo from Fairbury decided to buy their own drill so they could do their own seeding after having the job custom applied at first.

“It was a logical fit for us to also become a cover crop seed dealer,” Josh recalls.

The Iffts work with Bio Till, which is based south of Portland, Oregon. The family-owned business raises annual ryegrass, orchard grass, clover, turnips and radishes. Bio Till ships the crops to the Midwest to be used as forage or cover crops.

“It’s an industry that is still evolving and finding new ways to improve soil health,” Josh said. “I think we are facing all of the challenges head on and trying to get better every year.”

This past spring provided a learning opportunity for many growers, as it was a struggle for some. A few fields planted into cover crops got off to a slow start due to a number of factors, but conditions improved as the summer continued. Josh believes some fields could take a hit this fall, especially in areas with first year cover crops.

“We haven’t built that soil up as well as in some of the fields that had been in cover crops for five plus years where the soil was able to handle that extra rain and moisture we had early in the year.”

Josh believes it takes a year like 2017 to make growers better and improve heading into the future.

Brian Wieland, regional manager for Bio Till Cover Crops near Peoria, says his company and farmers always want to tweak things by learning every year.

“Don’t get too overwhelmed if you had a weather situation or issue,” Wieland advises. “Some of those things we can work through with a little adjustment here and there.”

More information can be obtained by visiting or by contacting Jim and Josh Ifft at 815-848-3940 or 815-848-3949.

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