NEW BLOOMINGTON, Ohio -- Presentations at a field day on Sept. 9 will help farmers address the Lake Erie watershed phosphorus problem, said one of the event’s organizers.
Randall Reeder, emeritus agricultural engineer with Ohio State University Extension, said the Ohio No-till Summer Field Day’s focus on establishing cover crops and maintaining residue on cropland can help minimize runoff and erosion, which reduces the amount of phosphorus in the watershed. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and is one of the event’s sponsors.
Phosphorus is a primary culprit in Lake Erie’s massive algae blooms, one of which shut down the city of Toledo’s water system for several days in early August.
The field day takes place 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with registration beginning at 8 a.m., at the John Buck Farm, 7632 Wildcat Pike, in New Bloomington in western Marion County.
Early registration of $25 for the field day has been extended to Sept. 4, Reeder said. Onsite registration is $50. Registration includes lunch. A registration form with a full agenda for the day can be downloaded at go.osu.edu/notilldayPDF.
At 9 a.m., the opening speaker will address Secrets of Success for No-till Corn and Soybeans. Barry Fisher, state agronomist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Indiana, will discuss a four-step, two-year process to continuous no-till in a corn/soybean rotation, including planting a cereal rye cover crop into corn stalks. By the fourth step, soil biological populations and processes are advancing, soil aggregates are stabilizing, nutrients are cycling, and pores are opening for better water infiltration and holding capacity. The result is great production potential with more bushels per acre.
Other morning speakers are Hans Kok, coordinator of the Indiana Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative, and Ed Winkle of Hy-Mark Consulting in Martinsville.
In the afternoon, field events will focus on cover crop plots, soil pits and precision manure application. Soil pits will be dug at the edge of a cornfield and in a cover crop plot. Among the eight cover crop plots will be two blends specifically formulated for home gardens, Reeder said.
In addition, Ann Brandt, Walnut Creek Seeds, will address how to incorporate cover crops to make gardening more productive, whether on the farm or in an urban or suburban setting. This presentation will be concurrent with the first hour of the afternoon’s field events.
At the end of the day, participants will see a demonstration of a high-clearance cover crop seeder.
The field day is presented by the Ohio No-Till Council and the All-Ohio Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. Other sponsors are the college’s research arm, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center; NRCS; the Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Marion and Hardin counties; Ohio’s Country Journal; the Ohio Corn Marketing Board; and the Ohio Soybean Council.