UNL CropWatch Sept. 15, 2010: UNL Cover Crop Field Days Sept. 24

UNL CropWatch Sept. 15, 2010: UNL Cover Crop Field Days Sept. 24

Sept. 15, 2010

Cover crops will be the focus of two UNL Extension field days Sept. 24 near Gresham and Mead.

Producers use cover crops for various reasons, many to intensify and diversify their no-till system, help build and feed their soil system, reduce erosion or manage water, while others plant them for grazing, said Paul Jasa, UNL Extension engineer working with no-till management.

The field days will help demonstrate these reasons, Jasa said. Producers may attend one or both of these free events.

The field day near Gresham will feature an on-farm research study at the Scott and Barb Gonnerman farm starting at 9:30 a.m., said Jim Schneider, UNL Extension educator in Hamilton County working with the Gonnermans. Five different cover crop mixes were planted into wheat stubble to evaluate nitrogen production from the various mixes.

"Scott is interested in using cover crops to intensify his no-till crop production system and likes the idea of growing some nitrogen," says Schneider. "The replicated strips will allow him to learn about cover crops and evaluate their effects on next year's corn crop."

The farm is located 2 miles west and 3 miles south of Gresham, or 3 miles east and 1 mile north of Thayer at the corner of Road 21 & T. The morning will conclude with hotdogs and chips in time to make the trip to UNL's Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead for a 1 p.m. field day.

To show and discuss some of the many options available, 21 different cover crops were planted in demonstration plots at the ARDC. The cover crops include grasses, legumes, forages, brassicas, cocktail mixes, and others, each used for slightly different purposes.

"While these plots were drilled into wheat residue, cover cropping options after corn and soybean harvest also will be discussed," said Jasa.

Speakers at the ARDC location will include UNL Extension and NRCS no-till specialists working with cover crops and several cover crop seed vendors who will share their experiences. Discussion will include how and why to use cover crops, which cover crops to select to achieve certain goals, managing the cover crops to provide the most benefit and avoiding potential problems with cover crops.

Several door prizes of cover crop seeds will be given away so that producers can try cover crops on their own farms.

The ARDC is located at 1071 County Road G, Ithaca (south of Mead on Highway 66) and the field day will conclude at 4 p.m.

For more information, contact Schneider at (402) 694-6174 or Jasa at (402) 472-6715.

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