March 4, 2015
Farmer interest in cover crops is flying higher than unmanned aerial vehicles – ag drones, that is. And rightly so.
Teamed with no-till and crop rotations, cover crops boost corn and soybean yields, increase water absorption into the soil profile, reduce nutrient and sediment losses, plus create healthier soils. That's incentive enough to pursue cover crops.
Now, there's even more pressure for Midwest and Southern farmers to move beyond no-till in the 31 watershed states. U.S. EPA and USDA are pushing tougher soil and water conservation measures to address the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. And the U.S. Geological Survey recently announced use of optical sensor technology to track the basin's "nitrate pulse".
Bone up on soil health and cover crops
Cover Crop Solutions recently held a "Making Cover Crops Pay" event in Pennsylvania that drew more than 200 farmers, plus key personnel from EPA and USDA. A second, intensive two-day session is set for Memphis, Tenn., on Tuesday, Nov. 18 and Wednesday, Nov. 19.
Thinking About A Cover Crop? Start With Developing A Plan
Taking time to design your cover crop plan will increase the successful establishment of the crop and potentially allow for improved staggering of fall harvest.
An evening "Meeting of the minds" session on Tuesday, Nov. 18, brings together cover crop farm innovators and experts at the Hilton Memphis Hotel. They'll address cover crop's link to soil health and the latest research on cover crop profitability. Admission is free.
Next morning, the "Making cover crops pay" field day tour kicks off early at the Cover Crop Solutions Discovery Farm outside Memphis. It's free, but pre-registration is required. Field day topics include cover crop types, mixes plus root systems, growth and timing.
Dawn Equipment will also demonstrate a new planter attachment tool for planting crops into standing cover crops. For more details on it, click on: Game-changing Cover Crop Tool Arrives - Farm Progress.
For complete program details and to register, click on www.covercropsolutions.com/field-days-2014/memphis.php .
About the Author(s)
Editor, American Agriculturist
For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.
Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.
John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.
John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.
His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.
Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.
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