Advanced cover crop workshops set across Ohio

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CELINA, Ohio — Growers who want to improve soil health, reduce soil erosion and cut down on nutrient losses should consider using cover crops, and can get the latest updates at a series of workshops this winter.

“Using Cover Crops to Improve Soil Health,” will be presented Nov. 14, Dec. 10 and Jan. 14 at three locations.

The workshop will offer growers an advanced session on cover crops, with the opportunity to work with soils and seeds and learn about specific cover crops, such as oilseed radish, cereal rye, or Austrian winter pea and crimson clover.

“Starting with soil ecology, we’ll talk about how the soil microbes and plants work together,” said Jim Hoorman, an Ohio State University Extension educator and an assistant professor studying cover crops and water quality issues.

Sessions will also cover nutrient recycling of nitrogen and phosphorus, biology of soil compaction, soil structure and the benefit of live roots in the soil to promote soil health.

The workshop will also cover the economics of using cover crops and how cover crops can counter extreme weather events, store soil moisture and improve water quality.

ECO farming

The workshop will also explain ECO Farming, or “ecological farming,” a method that is growing in popularity among farmers because of its success in improving soil structure, decreasing soil and nutrient losses, and eventually leading to higher yields, Hoorman said.

Read more about the concept of ECO Farming.

“ECO Farming includes using long term no-till, continuous living cover and other best management practices as an economically viable, ecologically sound and environmentally sustainable growing practice,” he said.

“Soil microbes are like soluble bags of fertilizer, so keeping the soil microbes healthy improves plant production.”

Registration

The registration for each workshop is $30 and includes lunch, handouts, fact sheets and a new Cover Crop Field Guide. The workshops are:

  • Nov. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mercer County office of OSU Extension, 220 W. Livingston St. in Celina.
  • Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Putnam County office of OSU Extension, 1206 E. Second Street, Ottawa.
  • Jan. 14, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Erie County, with the location to be determined.

For more information or to register, contact Hoorman at 419-523-6294 or by email at hoorman.1@osu.edu.

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