Playing the course: Farmer manages variety and builds resilience through soil health

Oct 7, 2020

South Dakota is known for its variety, and Don Nickelson’s operation in Frederick is no exception.

With the help of his wife, Trista, and sons Aiden, Gavin, and Ian, Nickelson raises cattle and also grows corn, soybeans, oats, triticale and alfalfa in addition to some cover crops. His farm also varies in the amount of moisture it receives. His land to the west of U.S. Highway 281 tends to be drier and more suited for cattle while his land to the east receives more moisture.

How does Nickelson manage all this variety under such diverse conditions?

“Golfers say, ‘Play the course, don’t let the course play you,’” Nickelson said. “You got to look at how the ground is and what kind of grasses are there and what you can do with it. Each area is managed differently, just like in my crop ground each zone is managed differently.”

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