Realizing the Benefits of Cover Crops Program set

By Anna Smith - For The Register-Herald

EATON — In agricultural production, cover crops are those which are grown for protection and enrichment of the soil, rather than as a crop to be harvested. They’re planted in the fall either shortly before or after harvest, and you will notice them growing in wintertime when most fields typically lay bare. Some common species used as cover crops include annual ryegrass, cereal rye, wheat, oats, crimson clover, and radishes.

The benefits of cover crops for soil fertility and crop growth are being proclaimed far and wide: increased organic matter and fertility, reduced erosion, improved soil structure, weed suppression, reduced nutrient runoff, and potential increase in crop yields and reduced input costs, just to name a few. Despite this, many local farmers are not using covers. Preble Soil and Water Conservation District encourages farmers to use cover crops, and they’re sponsoring an upcoming program to discuss the benefits and practical considerations to be taken into account when doing so.

The program will be held Monday, June 26 at the farm of Donn and JoAnn Kolb, 3464 Paint Creek Rd., Eaton. A free meal will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by the program at 6 p.m.

The program will focus on practical information needed to allow producers to be successful in using cover crops. Speakers will include Dr. Hans Kok of the Soil Health Partnership, Wes Liebrecht of Fennig Equipment, and a panel of local farmers who have experience using cover crops. Panel members will include Phil Jordan, Red Rogers, and Donn Kolb. They’ll answer questions about what works, what doesn’t, and mistakes they’ve made that hopefully others can avoid.

Anyone interested is invited to join in for the evening to enjoy a free meal and learn about the benefits of cover crops, as well as how they can fit into your farming operation. RSVP to Preble Soil and Water Conservation District by June 19 to 456-5159. Special thanks to Brubaker Grain and Fennig Equipment for sponsoring the event.

By Anna Smith

For The Register-Herald