The Soil Health Partnership and its demonstration network farmers will share soil health ideas and practices with other producers during a series of workshop field days this summer.
The partnership will host the soil health field days from August through the end of the year.
The field days will demonstrate how changing certain practices can create environmental benefits while potentially increasing farm productivity and income.
Examples of educational topics include:
• Cover crop benefits and integration into local cropping systems;
• Nutrient management and other strategies to improve soil health;
• Hands-on soil demonstrations; and
• Farmer panels to discuss local experiences with cover crops.
Cover crops have gained attention for improving soil health because they can capture excess nitrogen left in the soil and put good plant residue back into the ground.
An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the SHP works closely with diverse organizations including commodity groups, industry, foundations, federal agencies, universities and environmental groups toward the common goal of improving soil health.
"We encourage sound soil practices combined with scientific quantification of results from farmers taking positive actions," said Nick Goeser, SHP director. "Improved crop productivity, environmental gains and economic growth are all benefits of progressive soil management strategies."
The partnership has scheduled about a dozen events in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, and anticipates dozens more in these and other Midwestern states throughout the summer and fall.
Indiana farmer Brent Bible plans on hosting one of the field days, where in part, he will share his success with cereal rye and oats on his farm. He also has experience with tillage cover such as turnips, radishes and snow peas.
"We have tried several different blends of cover crops, looking for the right combination," he said. "It has had its challenges sometimes, but it has been a good experience overall. Our costs are lower, plus we have less erosion and runoff."
Thinking about a cover crop? Start with developing a plan. Download the FREE Cover Crops: Best Management Practices report today, and get the information you need to tailor a cover crop program to your needs.
For a complete list of Soil Health Field Days, visit soilhealthpartnership.org.