Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Diversified Cropping System and Cover Crop Tours

Lincoln, Neb. – University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Organic Farm Tours will be Saturday, Aug. 16th

Learn how to increase your soil health by incorporating cover crops into your cropping system. The tours will start at 1:30 p.m. at Larry Stanislav's farm two miles north of Abie, Neb. Participants will join Larry Stanislav, to discuss his diverse cropping system of spring wheat, corn, soybean and cover crops. Learn how Stanislav has reduced tillage and managed weeds using a roller crimper and flamer. Stanislav has participated in a Ceres Trust Grant to incorporate a roller crimper into his cropping system.

Starting 3:30 pm participants will tour Randy Fendrich's farm. Fendrich also participated in the grant. He will discuss his cultural practices and crop rotation using a roller crimper and a 12 row flamer/cultivator that he built himself for weed control. At 4:30 pm Randy Anderson, USDA-ARS research agronomist at the North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Brookings, S.D., will present an update on his research findings. Anderson, a weed ecologist, will discuss the goal of his research program to develop a continuous no-till cropping system for organic producers. He will present results on converting red clover fields to cropland without tillage and describe the impact of underseeding clovers in winter and spring wheat on downy brome growth. 

Producers will learn how to minimize the need for tillage to control weeds and how a system based on winter-killed cover crops can control weeds adequately to grow no-till. Though this is focused on organic producers, any producer wanting to decrease input costs will find this information useful.

Anderson’s research focuses on reducing the need for weed management inputs by understanding the aspects of weed population dynamics. He developed a population-based approach to weed management that reduced input costs for weed management 50 percent compared to conventional practices. He looks at the benefit of crop diversity and crop sequences that are synergistic and improve growth efficiency of the following crop, thus crop yield can increase without needing to increase resource inputs such as fertilizer or water. He has observed that tolerance to weed interference is greater with synergistic sequences, thus possibly reducing the need for herbicides.

Producers using no-till rotations can learn more about how continuous no-till rotations can improve land productivity, farm economics, soil health and resource-use-efficiency in the Great Plains.

Afterward a free dinner provided by the Fendrich Family will be served at 5 p.m. Reservations are needed. Please call Wendy at 402-584-3837 to RSVP or for more information about the tour or directions. 

Source: Charles Shapiro, UNL Soil Scientist – Crop Nutrition, (402)-584-3803, cshapiro@unl.edu

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