Many strip-tillers embrace seeding cover crops and the soil health benefits, input reductions and weed suppression they provide.
More than 62% of the farmers who responded to the 2022 Strip-Till Operational Practices Survey seeded cover crops in their strip-till fields — a percentage on par with the last 4 years of data. Most of the responding strip-tillers plant cereal rye, but oats and radishes are also popular species in their strip-till fields.
“Covers and strip-till are a perfect harmony,” says Ryan Nell, a strip-tiller from Beaver Dam, Wis. “I really like having the cover crop in between my 30-inch row. We run an air seeder and then run a strip-till bar right behind it in two separate passes. It’s a great system.”
The 2023 National Cover Crop Summit, a virtual event hosted by Strip-Till Farmer sister publication Cover Crop Strategies, is scheduled for March 14-16, and will feature eight sessions packed with practical tips to help strip-tillers implement cover crops into their operations and learn about the many benefits of using covers.
By request of previous years’ attendees, the 2023 summit has been extended to 3 days to give farmers additional time to view the on-demand and live sessions. Attendees may watch the six on-demand and prerecorded presentations for free. The paid VIP registration grants access to attend a live farmer panel discussing cover crop best practices for various tillage practices and an exclusive session by “Cover Crop Coach” Steve Groff, 2023 Cover Crop Trends. Here’s a preview of Groff’s session and two other highly anticipated free sessions available to anyone who registers for the National Cover Crop Summit:
2023 Cover Crop Trends
Groff, who farms in Holtwood, Penn., has helped thousands of farmers improve their soil health using cover crops. Groff incorporated cover crops into the family operation in the mid-90s and has been successfully using cover crops for nearly four decades. He’s known for the introduction of the tillage radish as a cover crop and has demonstrated its ability to scavenge nutrients, reduce weed pressure, trim compaction and boost soil quality.
For this year’s 2023 National Cover Crop Summit, Groff is going to outline 2023 cover crop trends. He says increased fertilizer prices are compelling more farmers to use cover crops to contain nutrients or make them available in their fields in order to reduce their costs of growing cash crops. As the demand for cover crops increases, some cover crop seed shortages have been reported.
“We’ll discuss how to strategize around that issue,” Groff says. “I will share what some of the top consultants and seed dealers are saying about the current state of the cover crop industry.”
Live Farmer Panel Discussion
Another highlight of this year’s National Cover Crop Summit will be a live farmer-to-farmer panel discussion, Tips for Making Cover Crops Work with Your Tillage Practices.
Growers from across the U.S. who are using a variety of tillage practices, including strip-till, will share their experiences with cover crops. This panel will be held live via Zoom, so come prepared with questions as they discuss best tried-and-true practices for seeding and terminating covers, how to successfully incorporate cover crops into your operation — regardless of tillage (or no-tillage) type and location, and much more.
DIY Roller Crimper
Strip-tillers interested in cutting chemical costs can’t miss a presentation that provides instructions for transforming tillage equipment into a roller crimper. Ryan Schmid, research agroecologist at the nonprofit Ecdysis Foundation, and his research team developed a do-it-yourself guide for repurposing a used disc or any other equipment that fits a farmer’s particular needs into a low-cost roller-crimper.
In this session, Schmid will walk through the process of creating a roller crimper at just 20% of the cost of a new brand-name crimper. The crimper design and plans were produced with farmers in mind, so anyone can build one in their farm shop. Schmid’s presentation will include tips for making the build easier, field test results from DIY crimpers and potential build modifications to fit specific needs.
Planting Green, Part 2
Jim Stute, an independent research agronomist and farmer based in East Troy, Wis., has been experimenting with cover crops for about 30 years, including conducting trials to determine if planting green will suppress glyphosate-resistant weeds (see p. 14).
In his National Cover Crop Summit presentation, Stute will expand upon the presentation he gave at the 2022 National Strip-Tillage Conference and explain the promising results of his most recent soybean trials, how planting green fits into an overall resistance management system, and how rye termination timing impacts weed suppression, soybean development and yield.
Register for the National Cover Crop Summit Virtual Event March 14-16, 2023
The National Cover Crop Summit will return March 14-16 with hours of on-demand and live presentations delivering practical tips and information on managing cover crops to improve soil health, enhance on-farm profitability and protect the environment. Register as a free or VIP attendee at covercropsummit.com.
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