Local Field Day to view soil health cover crops, grazing and improved profitability
September 28, 2017
A field day will be held October 3rd at the Robert (Lefty) Lemaster farm, starting at 3:30 in the field, located 0.5 miles east of highway 213 on Road 227. Natural Resource Conservation Service tristate Soil Health Specialist, Marlon Winger will discuss the 12 species cover crop mix growing on Lefty’s farm and a four species grazing mix as well. Winger says, “With this plant diversity we are mimicking Mother Nature, who loves plant diversity and complementarity, but abhors monoculture of any species. The problem with wheat-fallow is that it encourages weeds that like to grow at the same time, like cheatgrass, joint grass, wild oats, feral rye and a host of mustards. All the plowing in the world will not get rid of these weeds because plowing turns up seeds buried the last time you plowed and the timing of the wheat crop is still perfect for the weeds.”
The field day moves to the Albin Community Center at 5:30 for pulled pork sandwiches and all the fixings, compliments of 4Rivers Equipment, Cheyenne WY. Two producer presentations will follow the meal. The rainfall simulator will be running to show how differing soil management affects runoff and infiltration.
Steve Tucker, Venango NE farmer will share his experiences going from a dryland wheat-fallow farmer 10 years ago to growing 5 to7 different cash crops and grazing cover crops to harvest beef while increasing his soil organic matter from 0.5% to 2.7-3.2%. In the process, the cover crops are invigorating his soil biology so that fertilizer is seldom necessary. The increased residue from cover crops has eliminated soil erosion and greatly reduced evaporation from bare soil. That makes more moisture available to the crops, plus his soil can now infiltrate and store several inches more rain than 10 years ago. Come see how multiple species mixes of cover crops are more productive than monoculture crops, while improving the soil environment to make cash crops more productive as well.
Local producer, Michael Lerwick has been invited to discuss his experience grazing 200 acres of cover crop this year as well. NRCS State Agronomist, Roger Stockton will be on hand to answer questions about NRCS assistance. This whole day is about signing fewer checks on the front and more on the back.
Submitted by Roger Stockton, [email protected] 307-233-6767, 308-655-0901 cell