By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Cover crop field day Wednesday
Two local sites will host cover crop field days on Wednesday. Field days are an opportunity for farmers and others interested in cover crops to find answers to their questions about individual plants and talk to each other about their experiences with cover crops. Pictured is a group from the field day on Oct. 20. (Photo supplied)
MONROE - Many farmers are noticing an increase in production after planting cover crops. This most likely can be attributed to the biological processes that are enhanced with a living root in the soil, as roots are the best way to feed the soil.

Following these four principles will result in healthier soil: Minimize soil disturbance, energize with plant diversity, keep the soil covered and maximize roots living as long as possible. Planting cover crops covers three of the four principles by adding diversity to the rotation, providing shade and residue to protect the soil and adding a living root from which the soil microbes can feed.

The Green County Land and Water Conservation Department and the Natural Resources Conservation Service have worked with farmers in the county to provide demonstration plots from which others can learn.

On Wednesday, two local sites will host discussions and demonstrations regarding cover crops and soil health. From 10 a.m. until noon, staff will be at the Randy and Chad Kesler farm in Sylvester Township at W3256 County SS. The Keslers planted seeds from Heritage Seed Company, selecting seeds that will winterkill, eliminating management in the spring. They planted radish, crimson clover, oats, berseem clover and Austrian winter peas.

From 1 to 3 p.m., staff will be north of Monroe at the northwest corner of the intersection of Highway 69 and Aebly Road on land operated by Aaron Digman, who planted six strips of a variety of seeds. There are some common species like oats, radish and turnip, but there are also some less common species like sunn hemp and pearl millet. The sunn hemp and pearl millet already have been killed by frost, but the rest of the plants are still alive. Not all of the plants will winterkill at this site. Both sites were planted in August after winter wheat.

Anyone interested in trying cover crops may attend either session. For more information, contact the Green County Land Conservation Office at 608-325-4195, extension 3.