No Fooling! Cover Crop Roots Go Deep!

No Fooling! Cover Crop Roots Go Deep!

Field day will demonstrate how various roots penetrate soil.

Cover crops have caught the attention of top notch farmers concerned about sustainability of the soil in recent years. We're talking about sustainability to produce efficient crops, and thus sustainability to produce profitable crops. Some of them are using them routinely in reduced tillage systems.

Many others are looking at them and trying a few acres at a time. Interference form the weather, such as the dry fall of 2010, sometimes derails or delays adoption, but the ability of cover crops to not only prevent soil erosion but also produce roots that run deep and help loosen the soil is getting many people to pay more attention.

Where many soil and water conservation districts once held no-till field days, and some still do, more now hold cover crop field days. Often, a farmer either plants a cover on several acres and hosts the field day, or more commonly, he tries a variety of cover crops, sometimes planted at different times, to give people  look at what the opportunities might be for growing various types of cover crops, and reaping a variety of benefits.

Roger Wenning, Greensburg, has experienced with several cover crops over the past three years, and has held field days at his farm. The next workshop on the soil to be held at his farm is this week, Thursday, July 14, 8:30 am to 3:30 p.m. His farm is located at 1512N, County Road 80 NE, Greensburg, Ind.

Lunch will be provided. However, since it's past RSVP date, please call to confirm you can still participate in lunch if you attend the field day. Contact the Decatur SWCD at 812, 663, 8685, ext. 3

What makes this field day different for Wenning is that it's designed to go deeper than just discuss cover crops. A key element of the discussion, talk about cover crops will be supplemented with information on soil health in general. One of the leading experts on soil health in the country, Ray Archuleta, is scheduled to be at the workshop and present a session on soil health. Barry Fisher, Hans Kok, and Jim Hoorman from Ohio State University are also scheduled to make presentations at the soil health workshop.

Topics will include carbon to N ratios, soil compaction, improving economics of this type of crop production, and of course, cover crops and their importance to soil quality.

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