Cover Crops

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National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health logo

2017 National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health

Session recordings are available from the second National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health. The event served as an opportunity to learn recent developments in how cover crops are being used by innovative farmers across the country and gain important insights on improving soil health from producers, conservation leaders and scientists. It was held December 7-8, 2017 in Indianapolis. 

Cover Crops field trip

Organic Production

Capitalize on the booming organic industry. This topic room has resources on organic systems, pest management, animal production, marketing, certification, conservation and much more.

Donn Branton

Innovative Assessment Helps Farmers in the Northeast Improve Soil Health

  Improving soil health without understanding the soil’s condition is not easy and traditional soil tests, though important management tools, don’t provide information on the physical structure or microbial life living in the soil. That is why a multidisciplinary team at Cornell University created a soil health assessment, which measures physical, chemical and biological indicators […]

Cover Crops for Soil Health Workshop Video

Cover Crops for Soil Health Workshop

All session recordings and slide presentations from this three-day professional development workshop are available online. Hosted by Northeast SARE and Delaware State University in March 2016, this event addressed the latest research on the benefits and successful management of cover crops in grain, vegetable and animal production systems.

2015-16-Report-from-the-Field_cover.jpg

2015/2016 Report from the Field

Read about SARE-funded work in the areas of sustainable dairy cropping systems, soil health assessments, nutrient management, cover crops, beginning farmers, pollinators, technical assistance programs for women farmers, and more. This edition includes highlights of projects funded through the graduate student program, and the highly regarded Sustainable Agriculture Fellowship, a professional development program coordinated by SARE and NACAA.

Establishment Methods for Cover Crops and Cash Crops in Grain Production Systems

Steven Mirsky (USDA-ARS), Greg Roth (Penn State University) and Sjoerd Duiker (Penn State University) discuss common establishment methods for cover crops; the importance of matching the right cover crop species with the right methods; and other topics such as no-till versus tillage; optimal timing of cash crop establishment, drills versus planters, planter and drill attachments and set up; cover crop termination; and planting green.

Cover Crops for Soil Health Workshop

This three-day professional development workshop, hosted by Northeast SARE and Delaware State University in March 2016, addressed the latest research on the benefits and successful management of cover crops in grain, vegetable and animal production systems. All session recordings are available.

Overview of Cover Crop Developments Nationwide

Rob Myers (North Central SARE, University of Missouri) provides a national overview of where cover crops stand, including a review of farmer survey data, new equipment and proposed initiatives.

Cover Crop Planting Dates and Seeding Rates

Matthew Ryan (Cornell University) discusses the necessity of proper establishment timing and seeding rates for maximizing cover crop performance. He explains how knowledge of the interaction between these considerations can provide management flexibility and increase cover cropping success.

Cover Crop Cocktails

Mitch Hunter (Penn State University) discusses the principles of how to assemble different cover crop species into a successful cocktail based on farm management objectives, crop rotation restraints, and which cover crop species traits are complementary.

Fitting Cover Crops in Vegetable Rotations

Ron Morse (Virginia Tech, emeritus) shares how to successfully fit cover crops into a vegetable rotation, including establishment methods, matching the right species to the right methods, recommended rotations and cash crop establishment.

Cover Crops: Current and Future Directions

This plenary discussion on current and future directions in cover crops features Greg Roth (Penn State, presenting on behalf of Scott Rushe, Seedway), Ramona Garner (USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center) and Andrew Smyre (Perdue AgriBusiness). They discuss demand for cover crop seeds, the development of new varieties, and the agribusiness industry's role in supporting cover crops.

Evaluating and Improving Cover Crop Performance and Adoption

In this session, Sjoerd Duiker (Penn State University) discusses the possibility of adoption without government regulation or incentives, and Dean Hively (USGS) reviews the use of remote sensing to map cover crop performance, trends toward increasing wintertime ground cover and watershed-scale performance.

Cover Crops as Part of an Overall Nutrient Management System

In this session, Steven Mirsky (USDA-ARS) and Heather Darby (University of Vermont) discuss the role of cover crops in integrated fertility management and address cover crops in the context of forages, dairies, perennials and pastures, and rotating pasture to grain.