Cover crop use, the benefits of cover crops, and how they can be used as part of an interseeding system in corn and soybeans will be the focus of an NDSU Extension field day on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Educational sessions and field visits will be at the NDSU campus research plots to the west of the corner of 18th Street and 15th Avenue North in Fargo. The sessions begin at 8 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.
The event will highlight 20 cover crop species and how they can be incorporated into a farming operation or used for fall grazing.
Other topics include the benefits and challenges of cover crops, forage sorghum and grazing mixtures, and the results of the timing of seeding and the rate of rye and camelina seeded into standing soybeans.
In addition, participants will visit the field research and demonstration plots near Hickson, North Dakota, by bus. Stops include a research area with cover crop interseeded into corn and a research site investigating the effect of fall-seeded cover crops on the currently grown corn and sugar beet crops.
After lunch, researchers will present results of interseeding camelina and pennycress in corn and soybeans. The program will conclude with a panel discussion, which will include a question-and-answer session.
"I have worked with interseeding camelina and rye in soybean during the past two summers," said Kory Johnson, a graduate student in NDSU's plant sciences department and one of the field day's speakers. "Seeding these cover crops into soybean is still a relatively new concept in North Dakota, but I expect greater adoption rates in the future."
Hans Kandel, NDSU Extension agronomist and a field day presenter said, "The residue after soybean harvest is limited. To protect the soil, one of the options is seeding cover crops at the end of the soybean growing season to allow plant establishment of the winter cover crops. Our research is trying to answer the feasibility and benefits of interseeding cover crops into standing crops."
This field day is part of the outreach effort associated with a National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded to North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station scientists (Award No. 2016-69004-24784, "CropSys - A novel management approach to increase productivity, resilience, and long-term sustainability of cropping systems in the northern Great Plains").
The grant research aims to study how cover crops can increase the resiliency and productivity of crops such as corn and soybeans, and improve soil health and land use efficiency.
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