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NDSU sets cover crops, intercropping and soil health field day

The field day will focus on how cover crops and intercropping can be used in farming systems and how they benefit soil health.

Opportunities to incorporate cover crops into various cropping systems will be the focus of a North Dakota State University cover crops, intercropping and soil health field day on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

The field day also will focus on the benefits of cover crops and establishing alfalfa in an intercrop system, and how cover crops can be used in local farming systems and be beneficial to soil health.  

“Cover crops have a positive effect on soil health, and we are still learning more about how best to incorporate cover crops into the agricultural systems,” says Abbey Wick, NDSU Extension soil health specialist.

Presenters will demonstrate and discuss the benefits of cover crops and how to establish alfalfa in a growing crop.

The field day will start with coffee at 9 a.m. at the Hickson research site. To access the site, take I-29 south of Fargo to Kindred Exit 48 then turn east and then turn left (going north) on Highway 81. Drive 0.5 miles and you will see the field day flags. 

A second stop will be at the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (NDAES) in Fargo located 0.4 miles west of the corner of 18th Street North and 15th Avenue North or just east of the corner of Dakota Drive and 15th Avenue North.  

Lunch will be at the Fargo location before the afternoon program, which will end around 3 p.m.

The Hickson research site topics are:

  • Corn-alfalfa intercropping and sorghum-alfalfa intercropping
  • Sunflower-alfalfa intercropping
  • Integrating alfalfa and winter camelina in soybean-wheat-sunflower rotations

The NDAES site topics are:

  • Overview of competition in intercropping systems
  • Freezing tolerance in winter cover crops
  • Intermediate wheatgrass research in North Dakota
  • Cover crops in soybean
  • Benefits and challenges of cover crops
  • Cover crops seeding date trial

“For several years I have researched various cover crops within various cropping systems,” says Marisol Berti, NDSU Department of Plant Sciences professor in forage, cover crops and biomass production and organizer of the event. “ Establishing alfalfa within a sunflower crop has great potential.”

Hans Kandel, NDSU Extension agronomist and a field day presenter, adds, “After soybean harvest, there is limited residue left to protect the soil. Seeding cover crops into soybean is one management strategy to increase the soil cover. For farmers who are interested in growing winter rye, a question they have is whether to plant soybean into the growing rye or terminate the cereal before planting soybean.”

Field day participants will have the opportunity to learn about cover crop research findings as well as connect and visit with other participants who have experience in incorporating cover crops into their farming systems.

Lunch will be provided; however, registration by September 10 is required. Visit https://tinyurl.com/yn49c3zr to register online.

For more information on the field day, visit https://www.ndsu.ag/op2n8f.

This field day is part of the outreach effort associated with two National Institute of Food and Agriculture grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded to North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station scientists and a North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education – Professional Development grant.


NDSU Agriculture Communication – Aug. 30, 2022

Source: Hans Kandel, 701-231-8135, hans.kandel@ndsu.edu

Source: Marisol Berti, 701-231-6110, marisol.berti@ndsu.edu 

Editor: Kelli Anderson, 701-231-6136, kelli.c.anderson@ndsu.edu

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