March 14 workshop: Use cover crops to improve soil health, yields

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Growers who want to improve soil health and increase yields might want to consider using cover crops, such as oilseed radish, cereal rye, cowpea or Austrian winter pea, which have also been proven to lower input costs, an Ohio State University Extension expert says.

Jim Hoorman, an OSU Extension educator and an assistant professor studying cover crops and water quality issues, will hold a workshop, “Using Cover Crops to Improve Soil Health,” on March 14. The workshop will include information about cover crops and ECO Farming, or "ecological farming," a method that is growing in popularity among farmers because of its success in increasing yields.

“ECO Farming includes using eternal no-till, continuous living cover and other best management practices as an economically viable, ecologically sound and environmentally sustainable growing practice,” Hoorman said. “It uses a combination of cover crops and no-till worked into a corn/soybean/wheat rotation to more efficiently use the inputs farmers add to their soil.”

As more farmers learn more about it, more growers are incorporating the use of cover crops, with some 5 percent of farmers nationwide now using the method.

The daylong workshop will cover the following topics:

  • ECO Farming: Ecological Farming Practices
  • Soil Ecology and Nutrient Recycling
  • Using Cover Crops to Adapt to Extreme Weather
  • Biology of Soil Compaction
  • Economics of Cover Crops
  • Using the Cover Crop Selector Tool
  • Raising Homegrown Nitrogen
  • Using Grasses and Brassica in Your Crop Rotation
  • Open discussion: Using Cover Crops in a Crop Rotation

The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Hoernemann Refectory, 90 Greenfield St., Tiffin. Registration is $15. The deadline to register is March 12. Handouts, fact sheets, websites and a new Cover Crop Field Guide will be provided as part of this meeting.

For more information or to register, contact Hoorman at 419-523-6294 or by email at hoorman.1@osu.edu


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