Providing Good Ground Cover Through the Air

John DavisAerial Application, Audio, Corn, CTIC

A dozen years ago, to me, that headline would have meant using fighter aircraft to put precision munitions on targets to protect troops on the ground. Now, in the world of precision agriculture, it means using aerial application to put down seeds for ground cover crops.

“Typically your crops will [still] be out in the field, and we need to get the seed out there,” said Eric Smith, a pilot with Pontiac Flying Service and a northern Illinois family farmer who talked with Chuck after one of the stops on the Indian Creek Watershed Project Field Tour. His presentation was on the benefit of cover crops, such as tillage radish or rye grass. Smith explained in his part of the country, they are applying the cover crop seed in mid-August to mid-September, when the corn is already pretty tall. The aerial application allows for a nice, even distribution of seed, and the resulting cover crop doesn’t interfere with harvest. In fact, he says some farmers have even told him it actually helps by cutting down on dust.

Check out Chuck’s interview with Eric here: [wpaudio url=”″ text=”Interview with Eric Smith, Pontiac Flying Service”]

2012 Indian Creek Watershed Project Field Tour Photo Album