In this session, Steven Mirsky (USDA-ARS) discusses the role of cover crops in integrated fertility management and maximizing nutrient availability, as well as the role of grasses versus legumes and matching other nutrient sources with cover crop performance. Heather Darby (University of Vermont) continues by addressing cover crops in the context of forages, dairies, perennials and pastures, and rotating pasture to grain.
This session was part of Cover Crops for Soil Health, a three-day professional development workshop hosted by Northeast SARE and Delaware State University in March 2016. All session recordings are available online.
Find more practical information about cover crops in the Cover Crops Topic Room.
Steven Mirsky is a Research Ecologist for the USDA-ARS in the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory, USDA-ARS-BARC Beltsville, Maryland. He conducts agroecological research in organic and sustainable cropping systems. His research focuses on evaluating cropping system sustainability including agronomic and environmental criteria. Steven conducts research on evaluating the multifunctional role of cover crops (weed control and Nitrogen scavenging and fertility) and their integration into agroecosystems for soil, crop, and weed management. Steven received his M.S. and Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University.
Heather Darby is an agronomic and soils specialist for the University of Vermont Extension, with her MS from the University of Wisconsin in Agronomy and her Ph.D. in Crops and Soils at Oregon State University. Being raised on a dairy farm in Northwestern Vermont has also allowed her to play an active role in all aspects of dairy farming as well as gain knowledge of the land and create an awareness of the hard work and dedication required to operate a farm. These practical experiences complemented by her education have focused her attention towards sustainable agriculture and promotion of environmental stewardship of the land. Heather is involved with implementing many research and outreach programs in the areas of fuel, forage and grain production systems in New England. Outreach programs have focused on delivering on-farm education in the areas of soil health, nutrient management, organic grain and forage production, and oilseed production. Research has focused on traditional and niche crop variety trials, soil management strategies and cropping systems development.
Complete session recordings
- Overview of Cover Crop Developments Nationwide
- Cover Crop Planting Dates and Seeding Rates
- Cover Crop Cocktails
- Establishment Methods for Cover Crops and Cash Crops in Grain Production Systems
- Fitting Cover Crops in Vegetable Rotations
- Managing Cover Crops for Ecosystem Services in Vegetable Systems
- Cover Crops: Current and Future Directions
- Evaluating and Improving Cover Crop Performance and Adoption
- Cover Crops as Part of an Overall Nutrient Management System
- Managing Soil Health With Cover Crops: Beyond the Basics
- Cover Crop Field Tour Recap and Debrief
- Farmer Panel on Cover Crops