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2013 Cover Crop Field Day Sept. 10

The LaGrange County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), in cooperation with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, will hold a cover crop field day from 2-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10. The event will take place on Triangle Farms. Go east of Howe on SR 120 to CR 475E, then north on CR 475E ¼ mile.

Cover crops are a recently “rediscovered” conservation practice. In our grandparents’ day, crop fields and gardens were regularly planted with rye, ryegrass, wheat or oats to “cover” the cultivated ground after the regular crop had been harvested. This practice generally fell into disuse in the 1970s and 1980s, during which time crop land was generally left fallow in the off season.

Benefits of cover crops include improved weed control, nutrient scavenging reducing the need for applied fertilizers, reduced soil compaction and reduced or eliminated topsoil loss through erosion. Many new species introduced as cover crops include tillage radishes, turnips, buckwheat, and field peas.

 The program will open with a welcome by Triangle Farms owner Gary Myers. An NRCS representative will discuss general cover crop practices and effects on soil health. Local crop farmer Scott Beecher of Crossroad Farms will give a brief testimony concerning the use of cover crops on seed corn ground. A Purdue Extension representative will discuss successful cover crop management. Finally, Mike Holcomb, field technician for Sustainable Natural Resources Technologies (SNRT), will talk about ongoing conservation grant programs in LaGrange County and NRCS District Conservationist Kevin Shide will wrap up the session talking about both federal and local funding opportunities for farmers wanting to start using cover crops on their operations.

 The informal, drop-in program itself is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. and should take no more than an hour, allowing time for questions and hands-on observations. Cover crop seed dealers will be on hand to give information concerning seed and species availability and exhibit equipment. Free refreshments are included for all attending.

 No registration is required. Parking is available at the site. Watch for signs the day of the program.

For more information, contact the LaGrange County SWCD at 260-463-3471 ext. 3. Everyone is welcome.