Cover Crop Field Day and Tour Sept. 19 in Southeast Nebraska

Figure 1. At the Rob and Trent Bohling Farm near Johnson a cover crop mix of oats, turnips, radishes, and volunteer wheat was planted after wheat and is being compared with an area with no cover crop. The experiment is to evaluate and compare crop yields and soil properties among three systems: cover crops, cover crops followed by grazing, and no cover crop. (Photos by Gary Lesoing)

Cover Crop Field Day and Tour Sept. 19 in Southeast Nebraska

Nebraska Extension, North Central SARE, NRCS, and the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition are sponsoring a Cover Crop Field Day and Tour this Tuesday, September 19 in southeast Nebraska.

The day will start at the Daryl Obermeyer Farm east of Auburn with registration and refreshments at 9 a.m., followed by the program at 9:30 a.m. The event will continue with a tour and presentations at another farm site, lunch, and another farm tour before ending about 3 p.m.

The Obermeyer Farm is one of several across Nebraska in the NRCS Soil Health Demonstration Farms Initiative, established to evaluate soil health principles and the impact of cover crops on soil health in different cropping systems.

At the demonstration site Stephen Kennedy, NRCS district conservationist from Nemaha County, and Aaron Hird, NRCS state soil health specialist, will discuss and demonstrate soil health principles, explain the project at this site (Figure 2), and answer questions about this new Nebraska program.

The second stop is the Rob and Trent Bohling Farm near Johnson. This is the site of a North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) project that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is conducting with the Bohlings. In this on-farm research project (Figure 1), cover crops have been incorporated into a cropping system and the impact of growing and grazing cover crops on soil health and crop yields is being studied and compared with areas without cover crops. 

Cover crops planted at the NCRS tour stop
Figure 2. At the Daryl Obermeyer Farm a cover crop mix of brassica and cereals were planted after harvest of the wheat crop. (The wheat had yielded 90 bu/ac.)

Humberto Blanco, UNL soil scientist, will discuss research being conducted at this site and other research sites in Nebraska and the impact of cover crops and grazing on soil physical properties and crop yields. Mary Drewnoski, Nebraska Extension beef systems specialist, will discuss the feed value of cover crops, the economics of grazing cover crops, and potential nitrate issues in grazing cover crops.

The final stop on the tour will be at the Rod Christen Farm southwest of Tecumseh where Christen has a Cover Crop Demonstration site as part of the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition (NGLC) Demonstration Project. Christen, Ron Bolze, NGLC Coordinator, Mitch Stephenson, Nebraska Extension range management specialist, and Nate Pflueger, UNL graduate student, will report on this project.

Information and Registration

The event is free and includes a lunch. While pre-registration is not required, it is encouraged to provide for a lunch count.

To register or to get more information about the tour, contact Gary Lesoing at Nebraska Extension in Nemaha County at (402) 274-4755. In case of rain the program will be held at the Nemaha County Fairgrounds in the 4-H Building at 816 I St., Auburn.

Directions to Tour Stops

To enjoy the full program, participants are encouraged to catch all the stops; however, if that's not possible, they are also welcome to join the caravan at one of the later stops. 

First Stop — Daryl Obermeyer Farm: From the stop light in Auburn at the intersection of Hwy 75 and Hwy 136, travel east 4.5 miles to 643A Avenue and then turn south and travel 1.5 miles to the NRCS Field Demonstration Site.

Second Stop — Rob and Trent Bohling Farm: From the stop light in Auburn at the intersection of Hwy 75 and Hwy 136, travel west on Hwy 136, 10 miles to the SARE On-farm Research Cover Crop Demonstration Site at the southwest corner of the junction of Hwy 136 and Hwy 105. Turn south (left) off Highway 136 onto Highway 105. The field will be on the west (right) side of the road.      

Third Stop — Rod Christen Farm: From the intersection of Hwy 136 and Hwy 50 in Tecumseh, travel south 7 miles to 721 Rd and turn west (right) off Hwy 50. Travel 3 miles west to 618 Avenue. The field is on the northwest corner of the intersection.