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Cover Crops topic of workshop (Audio included)

Dave Brandt presentingA Cover Crop Workshop was held at Ohio Hi-Point Career Center Wednesday.

Cover crops are an agricultural practice of planting crops on a field without the intention of harvesting them.

The purpose of cover crops is to reduce runoff, improve soil quality, and put nitrogen and phosphorous nutrients back into the soil so that row crops such as corn and soybeans can utilize those nutrients later. The practice tries to improve water quality by reducing the amount of sediments and nutrients from running into streams, rivers, and lakes.

Ryegrass, crimson clover, and Austrian Winter Pea are examples of cover crops. Cereal Rye and oats have a fibrous root system that produces organic matter and a living mulch layer. That mulch layer can reduce the need for herbicides and pesticides.

Five speakers presented during the workshop. Dave Brandt spoke about his experiences with cover crops on his farm and how they have impacted his “bottom line.” Retired soil scientist Frank Gibbs spoke on soil health, structure, and organic matter. Ryan Shanks from Buckeye Soil Solutions presented on cover crop applicators and fabricators. Heritage Cooperative Agronomist Dave Taylor spoke on the benefits of cover crops and things to look for when maintaining the practice. Steve Searson presented on the Great Miami River Trading Program for cost assistance on cover crops.

District Conservationist Bob Stoll explains cover crops.

The workshop was sponsored by the Logan Soil & Water Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Indian Lake Watershed Project, Logan County Ag Council, and the Top of Ohio RC&D Council.

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