Southeast Nebraska Cover Crop Tour and Workshop Nov. 20

Southeast Nebraska Cover Crop Tour and Workshop Nov. 20 November 9, 2018

Two cover crop fields in southeast Nebraska
Figure 1. (left) A cover crop mix that was aerial seeded into standing corn in August. (right) In late July cover crops were drilled into this field of triticale that had been harvested for grain. Both fields will be on the Nov. 20 Cover Crop Tour/Workshop in southeast Nebraska. (Photos by Gary Lesoing)

View diverse cover crop systems in southeast Nebraska and learn how livestock can be integrated into cover crop systems during a bus tour and workshop Tuesday, Nov. 20. Nebraska Extension, North Central SARE, and the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition are sponsoring the all-day Cover Crop Tour and Workshop.

Participants are invited to gather at the Johnson County Fairgrounds 4-H Building in Tecumseh starting at 9 a.m. At 9:30 the bus will travel to the Rod Christen Farm southwest of Tecumseh to view several cover crop fields. One field is a Cover Crop Demonstration site and part of the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition (NGLC). Nate Pflueger, University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate student, will discuss his work with the field, now in its third year as a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Demonstration Project.

The tour also will visit nearby fields where a diverse mix of cover crop species have been drilled under different management systems. The tour will continue to a field near Elk Creek where turnips were aerial seeded into corn in August. Christen will explain how he plans to manage these fields for grazing by his cow herd.

Earth worms from a cover crop field
Figure 2. Southeast Nebraska farmer Lane Meyer shows the earthworms in this soil from his diversified cover crop field.

Next stop will be the Ron and Lane Meyer farm near Johnson. The Meyers plant several hundred acres of cover crops, some aerial seeded into corn and others drilled after cereal rye that was harvested for seed. These fields, usually a mix of several diversified cover crop species, are drilled earlier than the aerial seeded cover crops. The tour also will include a field of cereal rye aerial seeded into soybean and several acres of Elbon rye drilled after soybean harvest for spring grazing. The Meyers will explain how they have been using no-till for several years and in the past five or more years have been incorporating cover crops into their cropping system to improve soil health and provide forage for their cow herd.

Lunch will be at the Johnson County Fairgrounds. Afternoon speakers will include Mary Drewnoski, Nebraska Extension beef systems specialist, and Kristen Ulmer, extension educator. They will address the feed value of cover crops, the economics of grazing cover crops, and research being conducted with cattle and cover crops.

Gary Lesoing, extension educator, will discuss some of the on-farm research being conducted with cover crops in southeast Nebraska to evaluate:

  • the impact of cover crops on crop yields,
  • planting different relative maturities of corn and soybeans to evaluate yield, and
  • determine the potential for increasing the window for cover crop seeding.

The workshop will conclude with a panel of farmers explaining how they use cover crops in their operations.

This field day is free, but registration is encouraged so organizers can plan for lunch. To register or to find more out about the tour, contact Gary Lesoing at Nebraska Extension in Nemaha County at (402) 274-4755 or at glesoing2@unl.edu.