"We are feeding and raising our animals well so our neighbors can be fed well."
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Please Join us May 7!
Del is literally racing around getting ready for you

By Nate Belcher

I have literally been chasing Del around the Green Acres Cover Crops research farm located at Ficke Cattle Company – Graze Master Genetics. 

We can’t wait to see you outside Pleasant Dale, Neb. on May 7 for our field day because Del has been seeding like a wild man and we are going to have a lot of fun.  Here Del is pictured on his trusty Gator.  I actually witnessed him seeding 22 acres in 35 minutes with nothing but his Gator and a $400 seeder mounted on the front.  If Del sees a spot of bare ground, he is seeding it.  I like to joke with Del that I need to watch his seed inventory more closely.
Our main focus on May 7 is profitability – net per acre.  We will be sharing how we can maximize every, single acre with the best combination of plants, livestock and stewardship of the land to build the soil.  Del has fields on his farm that need ZERO, that’s right, ZERO inputs right now because of his careful management of the soil in tune with nature.  His only cost is the seed he will be putting in the ground.  That’s exciting and those are the types of scenarios we want to share.  So please join us for a great time and the fun and rewards that come when neighbors come together to help one another and share their experiences. 
Save the Date – Neighbors Helping Neighbors Field Day
Start Time:  3 p.m. at Ficke Cattle Company
873 182nd Road
Pleasant Dale, Neb. 

Come for food, beverages, fellowship and see cover crops, cattle and common sense soil health practices in action.

Presentations by Doug Garrison – Natural Resources Conservation Service and Nate Belcher – Green Acres Cover Crops.  Del will provide hands-on demonstrations and share stories about how he has dramatically changed his farming and cattle operation for increased profitability and more holistic stewardship. 

A Graze Master Burger supper and beverages will be served after the field day. 

Hosted by – Del and Brenda Ficke and Nate and Rebecca Belcher

RSVP by calling Kerry Hoffschneider – Communications Coordinator (402) 363-8963 or email

You may also call Del Ficke at (402) 499-0329 or Nate Belcher at (402) 580-0015 if you have additional questions. 


Nate is Always Digging Around on my Farm

By Del Ficke

While Nate has been chasing me around trying to keep up with my speedy seeding, he has also been taking his spade and shoveling soil all over the farm to test for positive attributes.  Nate’s passion around soil is incredible and we have a great time together.  As long as he stays out of the way of the Gator, I can seed and not mow him over.  Nate has shown me how to maximize the biological activity in the soil and the mineral content in our forage and cover crops. 

If you aren’t already passionate about the spade and what it can teach you about the health of your farm ground, you will be after hearing Nate on May 7.  I will also be conducting a seeding demonstration.  While I spend a lot of time seeding with the Gator, we will also have some hands-on opportunities to learn how to seed with your no-till drill and also hear about our usage of aerial applications as well. 

Sometimes we can over-complicate things and I think farmers will really walk away feeling they can replicate our results using a variety of equipment options.  These practices are something everyone can do.  I mean if Nate and I can do it, you can too!

Walking on Air

By Del Ficke

Pictured is Doug Garrison – Area Conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Doug shares our passion about soil health and also agrees we cannot pound our passion into people’s heads.  Instead, we want you to come out and see the results for yourselves.  In the last newsletter, we reported the results of a water infiltration test that confirmed we have a field that has an infiltration rate of 13 inches per hour. 

The farm has been planted to cover crops since 2006 (with just one year of soybeans planted).  Essentially the field has been double-crop/cover-cropped with continuous mob-grazing of cattle across the field for a decade.

Doug Garrison said, “It’s like you are walking on air in that field.  The pore space is more abundant than the soil.  Think about it like this.  When you are walking down the sidewalk, you are walking on a bulk density of 2.65 grams per centimeter cubed.  The field where we tested Del’s high infiltration rate measured a bulk density of 1.06 grams per centimeter cubed.”


Those test results are not the same on all my fields and that’s what is motivating me because I know we can get there and I know others can too.  We cannot wait to share what’s working for us here and also to share what we’ve learned from our mistakes. 

Night Seeding

By Del Ficke and Nate Belcher

Here is Del night spraying all-natural fungal and bacterial soil inoculants to feed the microbes.  We are also using a blend of trace minerals on this field that serves as a foliar feed.  We sprayed at night because we knew there was a rain coming the next morning and the moisture would be ideal to incorporate that added biology into the root zone.  Thank you God because the rain did come!

Mapping out the Field Day

Here we are studying our course for the May 7 field day.  Approximately 25 different seed variations have been planted, some seed mixes and some single seed plantings.  We are trying a host of seeds – everything from Shoshone Sainfoin, Berseem Clover, Spring Peas, Grazing Alfalfa to Sweet Clover. 

Graze Master Burgers Await!

If you come for no other reason than Brenda's juicy, Graze Master burger supper, we cannot wait to see you May 7! 

Make sure to RSVP!

RSVP by calling Kerry Hoffschneider – Communications Coordinator (402) 363-8963 or email

You may also call Del Ficke at (402) 499-0329 or Nate Belcher at (402) 580-0015 if you have additional questions. 

Thank you so much!

"I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation."
Walt Whitman

Copyright © 2016 Ficke Cattle Company - Graze Master Genetics, All rights reserved.

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