Attend a cover crop field event on Sept. 25 in Homer, Michigan

A field event on Sept. 25, 2019, in Calhoun County will focus on numerous strategies for using cover crops to improve soil sustainability and protect fields following wheat or prevented planting.

A growing oats and radish mix
A growing oats and radish mix. Photo by Paul Gross, MSU Extension.

Michigan State University Extension and the FFA Homer Chapter will be co-hosting a free field event focusing on cover crops in a historically tough cropping season. The field event will be Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Homer FFA land lab behind RSB Transmissions, 24425 M-60, Homer, MI 49245. No registration is necessary.

A strip plot trial (5 feet by 15 feet strips) that has been replicated in numerous locations throughout the state will be showcased with 36 species including cereals, millet, turnips, radishes, triticale, several clovers (white, berseem, red, sweet and others) and six multi-species mixes. Ten different multi-species mixes were also planted in 20 feet by 100 feet strips to highlight different cover crop priorities with species that are good choices following wheat and in prevented plant situations.

Improving your soil health while maintaining or improving your profitability should be a goal on every farm. Cover crops, crop diversity and innovation are approaches that can be a crucial component to achieving these goals. Whether you’re interested in fitting cover crops into your rotation, selecting the right species, using cover crops for forage or increasing diversity and productivity through alternative crops, we will have something for you!

For more information or questions about the cover crop field event, contact Eric Anderson at 269-467-5510.

Cover crop information and resources are available through MSU Extension’s Cover Crops page and the Midwest Cover Crops Council, or by contacting Dean Baas at baasdean@msu.edu.

The Homer FFA and Agriculture and Natural Resources Department enrolls around 75 students each year in high school agriculture classes. The classes offered include: Introduction to Agriculture and Natural Resources; Advanced Agriscience; Animal Science; Natural Resources; and a section of 8th grade Agriculture. Students who complete all sections of agriculture classes have the opportunity to earn six free credits with Michigan State University upon graduation. The Homer FFA program offers hands-on activities for the students in the onsite greenhouse where students conduct experiments and grow flowers and vegetables during instruction. They also farm a 60-acre land lab down the road from the school where they grow corn, soybeans and pumpkins.

With the FFA membership, the students are given the opportunity to attend national and state conventions, participate in contests with an emphasis on leadership development, and volunteer in the community. The Homer FFA Chapter is currently working to develop a Farm to School program to implement local foods and vegetables grown by the agriculture classes into the school cafeteria. They have many goals for the program and are determined to grow and change to serve the next generation of agriculture professionals.


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