One year ago Roger Wenning, Greensburg, opened his farm to visitors to inspect the cover crop plots he planted the year before. Even though it rained heavily just before the event, the no-till farmer and part-time drainage and excavation contractor dug pits so that visitors could see how the cover crops produced roots below the soil. To this day, he insists it worked to dig pits when some thought it wouldn't be possible to even walk into the field without sinking in the mud because no-till conditions allow water to infiltrate into the soil at a faster rate.
Wenning will open his farm again, this time with expanded plots for visitors to look at. The field day, sponsored by the Decatur County Soil and Water Conservation District, is March 24. Wenning currently serves as the chairman of the Decatur County SWCD.
The program is slated to begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. His farm is located just east of Greensburg at 1512 N, Co road 80 NE. Anyone wanted to attend is invited to call the Decatur County SWCD for directions and a map. Reach the SWCD at 812-663-8685, ext. 3.
Scheduled speakers include Ray McCormick, Vincennes, a soil conservationist through his career as a farmer, Plus Eileen Kladivko, affectionately known as the 'worm lady' at Purdue University. She has spent her career studying the impact of no-till on earthworm populations, and how the two interact with each other.
Others scheduled to speak during the day include Ron Althoff, Dave Robison, Mike Hughes, Heather Siesel and Christine Goldstein. Lunch will be provided by a local business. The district asks for RSVPs if you wish to attend lunch.
Besides replicated research plots on more typical cover crops, Wenning also planted demonstration plots with very unusual covers for this part of the world. You will be able to observe all of these plots, judge winter survival for yourself, then see what rooting looks like underground on some of the key plots.
Earlier in March, on March 13, the Heritage Hills Historic RC&D Regional No-till Committee, Ripley County SWCD and Ripley County Purdue Extension, with support from both the Hogan Creek and South Laughery Creek Watershed projects, will host their own cover crop field day. This is the first year for plots there, and the first on-the-farm field day on cover crops in recent times.
It will be held at Bob Brewington's farm near Versailles. It's located on the Milan-Versailles Pike, just off Indiana 129. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with lunch provided by sponsors. Speakers include Kladivko, Mike Plumer from the University of Illinois and Robert Zupancic, a grazing specialist for the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
To make lunch reservations or confirm directions, call the Ripley County SWCD at 812-689-6410, ext. 3.