MSU hosts cover crops virtual field day

Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch hosted a cover crops virtual field day Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020.

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch hosted a cover crops virtual field day Wednesday, Sept. 2 from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

Researchers and outreach specialists discussed how interseeding cover crops into standing corn can help to improve soil nutrients, reduce erosion and decrease weed development.

“We have tremendous expertise at MSU with respect to cover crops, from realizing the benefits to meeting the challenges growers may face,” said Dean Baas, an MSU Extension sustainable agriculture educator. “Producers, agribusiness professionals, government agency personnel and others interested in field crops production and management are encouraged to join us to grow their knowledge on this topic and interact with our experts.”

The virtual field day began with short introductions followed by presentations for roughly one hour. After a short break, participants had the opportunity to participate in roundtable discussions and ask questions.

Roundtable topics are:

  • Soil Health: Sieglinde Snapp, professor of soils and cropping systems ecology and associate director of the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations, led a discussion on how cover crops can enhance soil health. Hosted by MSU Extension educator Christina Curell.
  • Nutrient Management: MSU Extension specialist Ricardo Costa discussed cover crops as a part of an overall nutrient management system.
  • Erosion Management: MSU Extension specialist Tim Harrigan answered questions about using cover crops to manage different erosion types, from sheet to rill to wind. Hosted by MSU Extension educator Sarah Fronczak.
  • Timing: Karen Renner, a professor in the MSU Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, discussed innovative ways to fit cover crops into crop rotation. Hosted by MSU Extension educator Monica Jean.
  • Weed management: Christy Sprague, MSU Extension weed specialist, discussed the latest research and recommendations to assist in controlling weeds by integrating cover crops into crop rotations. Specific topics will include why species matter, considering when to plant and what factors can affect cover crop establishment, and termination of cover crops with weed management in mind. Hosted by MSU Extension educator Paul Gross.
  • Organic Systems: Growers were invited to share experiences in a transition or organic system to manage soils and use of various soil health amendments, including cover crops. MSU Extension specialists Vicki Morrone and Dan Brainard were available to discuss and share experiences and knowledge. 
  • Forage and Grazing: This roundtable with Kim Cassida, forage and cover crop specialist, answered questions about ways to add value to cover crops by harvesting or grazing forage. Hosted by Forage educator Phil Kaatz.

Visit the Virtual Field Days website to learn more about MSU’s other virtual field day events.

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