ASK Jeff: The Rodale Institute’s farm manager, Jeff Moyer, answers your hardcore farming questions

Sign me up for one of those cover crop rollers.

Posted July14, 2005

What Jeff brings to the table

Jeff Moyer, who’s been the farm manager here at the 333-acre Rodale Institute research farm for more than a quarter of a century, receives lots of mail from farmers just like you asking for advice. Jeff’s hands-in-the-dirt experience over the past 26 years has run the gamut from refining the farm's cover cropping and crop rotation systems (including managing 270 acres in a rotation of corn, small grains, hay, and edible soy beans for a Japanese market) to overseeing The Rodale Institue Farming Systems Trial®, the world’s longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional agriculture. We thought it would be fun and informative to share some of these farmer-to-farmer exchanges, and Jeff’s practical wisdom, with our readers … and we’ll be doing it on a regular basis.

Got a question of your own? Send it to Jeff at:

Dear Jeff,

Your new roller-crimper looks very promising. If you are going to
manufacture this device, please put my name on the list of potential customers.

I was thinking that I could take the bucket off my front-end loader and then mount the roller-crimper on the plate. Does this seem like a viable option?

Are you going to have more than one size? Your very nice slide show shows a 10-foot-wide roller-crimper mounted on a 90-horsepower tractor. I doubt that my little 33 horsepower will push this much of a load.

David T. Miller

Dear David,

Thanks for the email and the interest in our roller. Here is where we are at: We will not be manufacturing or selling the roller ourselves but are looking for a company to take the ball and run with it. We have auto cad drawings of the tool and will be supplying those in the near future to companies or farmers who would like to build them. We only ever built the one for our own use. In theory, one could be engineered to fit almost any size tractor.

You're right that our roller would be too large for your tractor. It would push it, but it would never lift it up. As for the loader idea, I've never tried it but several folks have mentioned it. I think it would work if you have a full detent on the valve so that it allows the roller to float over the cover crop under its own weight; in other words, no down pressure but not supporting the weight either. I'm going to add your email to my list of interested people and keep you posted on the manufacturing and engineering progress. You might also want to check out the small scale roller developed by technicians at the USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory in Auburn, Ala.



Have some questions to Ask Jeff? E-mail him directly at