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Cover crop opportunities for farmers Nov. 20-21
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Friday, November 15, 2013 5:17 PM

OSU Extension programs offered at little or no cost

The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), in conjunction with Ohio State, Michigan State and Purdue Universities, are offering a FREE Cover Crop Summit on Nov. 20-21 in Fort Wayne.

The Cover Crop Summit will visit four farms that are using cover crops to highlight the benefits and to share technologies and techniques for making cover crops work on your farm. The registration is free and the cost of meals, hotel, and travel will be provided by reimbursement to the participants after the summit ends.

The summit is funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Great Lakes Cover Crop Initiative (GLCCI). GLCCI helped producers plant 27,154 acres of cover crops and reduced the amounts of nutrients (N & P) flowing to the Great Lakes.

A social at the hotel on the evening of Nov. 19 will also be held.

Summit discussion topics will include practical ways to incorporate cover crops into an operation, cover crop planting methods, termination, management, and more. Tour stops will feature grain farmers and animal producers who have successfully incorporated cover crops into their unique systems through innovation. Participants will be traveling by bus to the following tour stops:

Allen Dean Farm, Bryan,

Whiteshire Hamroc (Swine) Farms, Albion, Ind.

James Scott Farm, Pierceton, Ind.

Mike Werling Farm, Decatur, Ind.

At each operation, producers will share details on their experiences with cover crops. Other university experts will be available to answer questions. Farmers will have an opportunity to relate to their own experiences on their own farms and share practical useful information and knowledge based on real experiences.

The tour begins at 8 a.m. on Nov. 20 when the bus leaves Don Hall’s Guesthouse in Fort Wayne. The first stop is at Allen Dean Farm, Bryan, where Dean will share how he uses cover crop mixes and show how he plants and manages cover crops in standing crops with his highboy cover crop applicator. At Whiteshire Hamroc farms, owner Al Osterlund will demonstrate how to incorporate manure into a cover crop operation.

The day will wrap up at the Jamie Scott Farm, where participants will see 60 different cover crop plantings which include single and mixed species.

The summit will conclude on Nov. 21 at the Mike Werling farm with a focus on soil health. Participants will see at the Werling farm a comprehensive system that incorporates cover crops and other conservation practices.

Pre-registration is required. The program is free and travel costs, lodging and meals will be reimbursed (up to $400) with pre-registration. For more information about the summit, visit www.ctic.org/CoverCropSummit or contact Chad Watts at 574-242-0147 or watts@ctic.org.

More events

The Putnam County OSU Extension office and the Blanchard River Watershed coordinator (Phil Martin) are offering a Nov. 19 Cover Crop Tour from 9 a.m.-noon at Jim Leopold’s farm, north of Glandorf at 9464 CR 11. Ten different cover crops were planted four ways: broadcast, broadcast plus swine manure, turbo-till and turbo-till plus swine manure; so there are 40 individual plots to discuss. Phil Martin will also share some information about cost share money for cover crops in the Riley Creek watershed.

The Putnam County OSU Extension office is also offering a full-day Soil Health Workshop on Dec. 10 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The cost is $30 and includes handouts, a cover crop field guide, and a meal. Topics will include soil demonstrations, presentations on soil ecology and soil microbes, nutrient recycling and reducing N and P runoff, soil compaction, economics of cover crops, adapting agriculture to extreme weather events, and hour-long discussions on using legumes to build soil nitrogen, grass cover crops, and brassicas (oilseed radish, kale, rape) to reduce pests like weeds, insects and diseases in your crop land. Pre-registration to the Extension office is required to hold a spot by Dec. 9.