Agenda

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The following Certified Crop Adviser CEUs will be available for the November 8th meeting:

Nutrient Management: 1.5
Soil & Water Management: 1.5
Integrated Pest Management: 1.5
Crop Management: 9
Professional Development: 1.5
Sustainability: 3

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  • Wednesday, November 8, 2017
  •  
    8:00 AM  -  8:00 PM
    November 8 - Meeting
    Event starts at 8 am and runs until 8 pm. Includes light breakfast, all day coffee, buffet lunch, and evening poster reception with local and seasonal refreshments and hors d’oeuvres.
    8:30 AM  -  8:45 AM
    Opening Remarks - Introduction to the Northeast Cover Crops Council
    Ballroom
    Farmers, ag industry personnel, and researchers in the Northeast have long recognized the need for a centralized clearinghouse that aggregates cover crop information and promotes the adoption and effective use of cover crops. In 2015, we formed the Northeast Cover Crops Council (NECCC). The mission of the NECCC is to support the successful implementation of cover crops to maximize economic, environmental, and social benefits. The NECCC facilitates regional collaboration between farmers, researchers, and the public to foster the exchange of information, inspiration, and outcome-based research. The history of the NECCC, current efforts, and future plans will be reviewed.
    Speakers:
    8:45 AM  -  9:15 AM
    Morning Keynote
    Ballroom
    Growing Soil Health - Opportunities for collaboration As an agency born in the Dust Bowl focusing on facilitating voluntary conservation on our nation’s private working lands, NRCS has led a successful soil health outreach campaign, and has initiated multiple nationwide efforts focused on soil health training, technical assistance, and soil health science and technology acquisition and development. An overview will be provided of NRCS soil health activities, including the new soil health certification course and the agency’s science of soil health efforts. Opportunities for collaboration in the coming years will be presented and discussion will draw on audience questions and feedback to develop additional opportunities.
    Speakers:
     

    Soil Health

    9:15 AM  -  9:45 AM
    Measuring reduced tillage and cover cropping effects for improved soil health
    Ballroom
    Soil health constraints may significantly limit crop productivity and sustainability. Cornell University has developed a Comprehensive Assessment of Soil Health (CASH) (soilhealth.cals.cornell.edu) to measure physical, biological and chemical properties for sustained productivity and minimal negative environmental impacts. Our approach includes a deeper understanding of soil processes than standard nutrient testing, distinguishes between soils, identifies constraints and provides a framework for effective management planning. Using long-term tillage plots with recently incorporated cover crops treatments we quantified soil health improvements from reduced tillage and, after only a 3 seasons, demonstrated additional gains from the cover crop treatments.
     

    Pest Management

    9:15 AM  -  9:45 AM
    Extending cover crop growing season windows: potential weed management benefits and tradeoffs
    Amphitheater
    Weed suppression is one of the many potential benefits of integrating cover crops into annual cropping systems. Looking forward, increasing the weed suppression potential of cover crops will be necessary to manage the evolution of herbicide-resistant weed populations and to facilitate adoption of conservation tillage systems. Innovative strategies for extending cover crop growing season windows, including interseeding cover crops into growing row crops, no-till planting cash crops into roll-killed cover crop residue, and planting green into growing cover crops have the potential to diversify weed management systems. However, widespread adoption of these strategies will require greater understanding of their agronomic tradeoffs.
    Speakers:
     

    Adoption and Incentives

    9:15 AM  -  9:45 AM
    Incentives for cover crop adoption
    Taylor
    Northeastern states have different policies and incentives relating to cover cropping.  Most legislation is linked primarily to water quality protection – by using cover crops to reduce nutrient loss and soil erosion.  Recent widespread interest in the use of cover crops to improve soil health has captured the attention of state and federal program leaders.  This presentation will highlight state and federal programs and incentives for cover cropping to improve soil health.
    Speakers:
     

    Soil Health

    9:45 AM  -  10:15 AM
    Where and How Cover Crops Build Soil Organic Matter
    Ballroom
    Building soil organic matter in agricultural systems is vital to promoting soil health and agroecosystem sustainability. Cover crops are believed to increase soil organic matter, yet it remains unclear where and when they are effective and by what mechanisms cover crops influence soil organic matter. In a global analysis of cover crops, we show that diversifying agricultural plant communities by growing cover crops during otherwise bare fallow periods increases soil C by a global average of 12.2% or 0.17 Mg C ha-1 year-1. At the same time, microbial biomass was increased by cover crops by over 205%. In related experimental work, we hypothesized that microbes in the cover cropped production system would have higher growth rates and growth efficiencies and that this would result in greater biomass production and turnover time. We show that new carbon inputs are more rapidly incorporated into biomass in cover crop systems, which is related to 20% higher microbial growth rate, 15% higher biomass, and 20% higher growth efficiency. These differences in microbial physiology appear related to greater stabilization of new carbon inputs. Microbial communities in diverse cropping systems have microbial physiological characteristics that enhance the efficiency of new carbon input conversion to soil organic matter.
    Speakers:
     

    Pest Management

    9:45 AM  -  10:15 AM
    Cover crops to fight against Pseudomonas syringae
    Amphitheater
    The impact of bacterial diseases on yield and quality of agricultural products is well documented. Pseudomonas syringae was singled-out as the most economical threat amongst bacterial pathogens. Sustainable cultural practices such as cover crops must be evaluated for their potential to reduce disease incidence and improve crop quality. Thus, we used classical microbial ecology and the latest sequencing technologies to monitor soil, mulch and phyllosphere microbial diversity. This recent work sheds light on a highly competitive micro-environment that reduces P. syringae population size. In addition, our team investigated resistance gene expression in the context of cover crops.
     

    Adoption and Incentives

    9:45 AM  -  10:15 AM
    Use of remote sensing to evaluate the performance and distribution of winter cover crops
    Taylor
    Wintertime vegetation on agricultural fields can be detected and quantified using satellite imagery. Combining these vegetation measures with knowledge of what cover crops are planted, and how they are managed, can provide a powerful tool for adaptive management, quantifying the environmental effectiveness of various management strategies. Dean will present an overview of his remote sensing research results in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York.
    Speakers:
     

    Soil Health

    10:15 AM  -  10:45 AM
    Exploring soil health as a living system
    Ballroom
    Farmer Donn Branton will speak about the intersection of cover crops and soil health. He will share how the meaning of soil health has changed for him and his son over their years of farming. Donn has learned that soil health is more than the chemical components of a soil, proper fertility, or pH. Over time, his knowledge of fungal, biological, and other soil organisms has increased and he will speak about how incorporating cover crop residue influences the living system in the soil. Donn has used cover crops as much as possible since the 1980’s and makes cover crops as important to his farm as cash crops.
    Speakers:
     

    Pest Management

    10:15 AM  -  10:45 AM
    Effects of cover crops on insect pests and their natural enemies
    Amphitheater
    Agronomic cropping systems are often highly disturbed, lacking resources for natural enemies of arthropod pests.  The use of cover crops may provide diverse resources in space and time to foster and conserve ground dwelling natural enemies of insects, and can help to mitigate the effects of disturbance and promote natural enemy survival and biological control potential.   I will review some recent research on the effects of cover crops and their management on arthropod natural enemies associated with soil, including predators and insect-pathogenic fungi, in organic cropping systems.
    Speakers:
     

    Adoption and Incentives

    10:15 AM  -  10:45 AM
    Incentives in Maryland: Are they working?
    Taylor
    Maryland's Winter Cover Crop Program has been paying farmers to plant cover crops with the goal of reducing nitrate loading to the Chesapeake Bay for 12 years. Is the program working? This is a three-part question: 1) Have cover crop plantings gone up as the program has matured? 2) Are these cover crops actually capturing leachable N? 3) How effective are the incentives per tax dollar spent? We'll discuss methods of tackling each question and preliminary results."
    Speakers:
     
    10:45 AM  -  11:00 AM
    Morning Break
    Ballroom Foyer
     

    Nutrient Management

    11:00 AM  -  11:30 AM
    Cover crops for nutrient management
    Ballroom
    Cover crops are multi-functional tools that can be used to tighten nutrient cycles, improving nutrient use efficiency and thus both the environmental and economic sustainability of cropping systems. Legume cover crops contribute fixed N to a following cash crop, while grass cover crops scavenge residual soil N. Effective nutrient management requires the consideration and balancing of cover crop strengths and weaknesses through management tools such as the careful choice of cover crop species, use of cover crop mixtures, cover crop planting and termination timing, and fertilizer application rates in the following cash crop.
    Speakers:
     

    Web Tools for Cover Crops

    11:00 AM  -  11:30 AM
    What we’ve been up to: A progress update on NECCC resource and tool development
    Taylor
    Work progresses on cover crop-related resources and tools under development by members of the Northeast Cover Crops Council (NECCC). A preliminary version of the NECCC website can be found at www.northeastcovercrops.com. Collaborations continue on modification of the Midwest Cover Crops Council cover crop selector tool. Other tools under development focus on cover crop economics, cover crop impact on soil water and N dynamics, and selection of seeding rates for cover crop mixtures. Efforts are underway to ensure compatibility among different cover crop tools, and to prevent duplication of efforts in the Northeast, Midwest, and South.
     

    Organic No-till Grain Crops

    11:00 AM  -  11:30 AM
    Opportunities and obstacles with organic no-till soybean
    Amphitheater
    No-till planting soybeans into rolled cover crops can help farmers improve soil health, reduce labor requirements, and decrease fuel use all while maintaining good yields. However, this approach requires careful planning and there are some important factors to consider when deciding whether or not to no-till plant. Come learn about organic no-till soybean and what it takes to make this system successful. We will review research results from field experiments, talk about challenges that we have experienced, and discuss our ideas on how we can further improve organic no-till soybean production.
    Speakers:
     

    Nutrient Management

    11:30 AM  -  12:00 PM
    Estimating crop-available N from cover crops following termination
    Ballroom
    Estimating the nitrogen (N) contribution of a cover crop to a cash crop can potentially improve profits and reduce N losses to the environment. One approach is application of calibrated and tested computer models to estimate this N contribution. Such models can be applied as research tools and as N decision support tools. An example of an N management decision support tool, “Adapt-N”, (Agronomic Technology Corp; www.adapt-N.com) based on such a model will be presented and the advantages and limitations of the model for estimating crop-available N from a cover crop will be discussed.
    Speakers:
     

    Web Tools for Cover Crops

    11:30 AM  -  12:00 PM
    Cover crop mix seeding rate calculator for the systematic evaluation and development of CC mixes
    Taylor
    An excel cover crop mix calculator will be demonstrated which uses competition factors to adjust seeding rates of species within mixtures for specific purposes. Rates for similar species are reduced to avoid increasing seeding rate. The competition factor is a percentage multiplied against a set monoculture rate which determines: 1) the seeding rate in lb/ac and seeds/ft2 for each species, and 2) percent by lb/ac and seeds/ft2 for the mix. This calculator is designed to be transparent so that species ratings and competition factors can be modified for different regions, new purposes and seeding methods. Species and exact costs can be easily added and adjusted.
    Speakers:
     

    Organic No-till Grain Crops

    11:30 AM  -  12:00 PM
    Lessons from On-Farm Organic Systems Research
    Amphitheater
    Cover crops are more than just a single tool in a farming system, they need to be fully integrated into the system to offer the most benefits. Klaas will discuss his experience working with cover crops, what he has learned, and share about what makes for successful organic production. Klaas transitioned to organic practices almost 20 years ago, and has been experimenting ever since to fine-tune his rotations and cultural methods.
    Speakers:
     

    Nutrient Management

    12:00 PM  -  12:30 PM
    Using cover crops to scavenge and recycle deep soil N
    Ballroom
    Sufficient nitrogen (N) is essential for productive agriculture, however N must be available for crops at the right time and place. We found on average 255 lb/acre mineral N remained in the soil (0-7 ft deep), in September after growing corn or soybean. Through on-farm trials and experiments using N-15 isotopic tracers, we found that cover crops planted by early September can capture N from over 4 ft deep and significantly reduce the amount of N in deep soil layers. In some cases, the scavenged N is released and provides a source of fertilizer to the subsequent summer crop.
    Speakers:
     

    Web Tools for Cover Crops

    12:00 PM  -  12:30 PM
    Structured Discussion
    Taylor
     

    Organic No-till Grain Crops

    12:00 PM  -  12:30 PM
    Reflections on rolled cover crops in Maryland
    Amphitheater
    Hear about Bill Mason’s experience with using rolled cover crops for organic no-till soybean and corn production and how his rolled cover crop system has evolved over the past decade. Learn about successes and challenges with cereal rye, crimson clover, Austrian winter peas, and hairy vetch. Bill will also talk about his equipment, establishment issues, and economics of organic no-till soybean.
    Speakers:
     
    12:30 PM  -  1:30 PM
    Buffet Lunch
    Ballroom
    1:30 PM  -  1:45 PM
    Welcome to Cornell
    Ballroom
    1:45 PM  -  2:15 PM
    Afternoon Keynote - The evolution of cover cropping in the Northeast
    Ballroom
    Cover cropping is hardly a new practice in the Northeast but many new approaches to cover cropping have been developed in recent years. Much of this innovation is tied to shifts in our agronomic priorities and our growing understanding of soil stewardship. Vern will review some of these changes, and describe the role of Northeast SARE in supporting them. He’ll ponder the challenges to achieving cover cropping goals and pontificate about the future of cover cropping in our region.
    Speakers:
     

    Vegetable Systems

    2:15 PM  -  2:45 PM
    Considerations for cover crop use in vegetable production
    Amphitheater
    Vegetable production places particularly high demands on soil health,  so the benefits of cover crops are particularly valuable. Vegetable rotations provide more opportunities to use cover crops than field-crop rotations. Deploying them effectively during the harried growing season is challenging, so some standardized thought processes and practices can improve induction considerably. A sense of the priority management goal is a useful organizing principle. Choosing a set of cover crops that contribute to the first and second-priority goals can be done in the off-season, and simplifies choices. Identifying two or three times of year when cover crops are best established simplifies choices further. Then the challenge is for the grower to optimize the cover crop management. Vegetable growers can make wise choices by remembering three simple keys to success: fast start, no gaps, kill on time.
    Speakers:
     

    Harvesting for Forage

    2:15 PM  -  2:45 PM
    Managing cover crops for forage
    Taylor
    This presentation will cover the basics of managing cover crops for stored feed and pasture including species selection, fertility management, harvest timing, and expected yields and quality.
    Speakers:
     

    Planting Green Corn and Soybean

    2:15 PM  -  2:45 PM
    Planting green basics, benefits, and bumps in the road and Some equipment considerations when plan
    Ballroom
    Pennsylvania no-till farmers have shown interest in delaying cover crop termination to get the most out of their covers. This prompted Penn State’s 3-year, 5 location research project aimed at quantifying the influence of planting green on soil conservation, soil moisture management, and slug management in both corn and soybeans. Cash crops were planted on the same day into either early-killed (terminated about 2 weeks prior) or late-killed (planted green and killed day of planting or after) cover crops. Our findings reveal that planting green works in a range of locations with varying management goals, crop rotations, and equipment, but presents challenges in dry springs and when corn is the cash crop. Maximum growth rates of many cover crops will occur just prior to and during grain crop planting time. Researchers have found cover crop biomass can double during this period every 10 to 14 days when environmental conditions are good. Above-ground cover crop dry matter measuring 6000 to 10,000 pounds per acre requires some re-thinking and possible additional equipment to facilitate planting. This presentation will identify some of the challenges to getting a good stand of grain crop when planting into standing green cover crop, and some of the management techniques and equipment that can assist farmers in overcoming those challenges.
    Speakers:
     

    Vegetable Systems

    2:45 PM  -  3:15 PM
    Making space for cover crops within vegetable cropping rotations
    Amphitheater
    In this presentation we will show opportunities for fitting cover crops into vegetable cropping rotations. A number of strategies will be featured including utilizing living mulch strips for wide spaced vegetable crops, finding appropriate windows to plant cover crops prior to or following annual vegetables, and identifying ideal moments to under-sow cover crops into well established vegetable row crops. Suggested seeding rates, strengths & weaknesses of individual cover crop species, equipment for establishing and maintaining good stands of cover crops, and when to incorporate cover crops to benefit later planted vegetables will be discussed.
    Speakers:
     

    Harvesting for Forage

    2:45 PM  -  3:15 PM
    Doubling the impact: harvesting cover crops for forage
    Taylor
    Cover crops have been proven to protect the environment, conserve soil, clean water, improve soil health for long term yield gains. Cover crops cost to establish, and cost to remove. The pay back is in the long-term gains listed above – until winter forage. Winter forage benefits are cover crops on steroids in terms of sustainable environmental impact. Winter forage provides the highest quality mechanical harvested forage in New York. The yield response from key management practices is the driving force for farmers to use the same cropping intensity as they do with corn or perennial forages. This magnifies the impact of winter forage as a cover crop while producing a profitable crop.
    Speakers:
     

    Planting Green Corn and Soybean

    2:45 PM  -  3:15 PM
    Planting green from A to Z in Pennsylvania
    Ballroom
    This presentation will trace the history of planting green on our operation since we first started killing alfalfa in the fall to no till corn in the spring to where we always plant full season crops into a green small grain crop as well as to interseed small grains into pure alfalfa stands in the latter years of the rotation. I will describe the steps we went through as we increased our use of cover crops and went totally to planting green.  This will all be in the perspective of a smaller farm operation (75 acres) where forages have been the main stay of the crop rotation along with soybeans and oats for grain in recent years.
    Speakers:
     

    Vegetable Systems

    3:15 PM  -  3:45 PM
    Experiments in cover cropping, haying, and mulching at Pete's Greens
    Amphitheater
    Vegetable farmer Pete Johnson farms 250 acres of cover crops and will share about his experiments with a wide range of different cover crop varieties, very high-density seeding rates, species blends, and equipment. Pete has been haying for a couple years to make mulch that he then blows over his vegetable crops with a bale chopper. This year they got a forage chopper and used it to make fine mulch for mulching over existing plants. He will also discuss his Farmet speed disc for low-cost cover cropping and describe some fast seeding equipment he’s looking to buy this winter.
    Speakers:
     

    Harvesting for Forage

    3:15 PM  -  3:45 PM
    Farmer Discussion
    Taylor
     

    Planting Green Corn and Soybean

    3:15 PM  -  3:45 PM
    Planting Green in Maryland
    Ballroom
    Planting green is the practice of establishing a cash crop in a still-living cover crop before terminating the cover crop. Fourth generation farmer Trey Hill, who plants green on 85% of his farm, will share the history and nuts and bolts about planting green, in addition to his personal successes and failures. Trey will explain about the equipment he uses, including planters and row cleaners. See an on-farm report of what happened on his farm during the 2017 season conditions. Trey believes planting green is more productive and sustainable, while using fewer inputs with less pollution to the environment, and still being economically viable.
    Speakers:
     
    3:45 PM  -  4:00 PM
    Afternoon Break
    Ballroom Foyer
     

    Interseeding into Corn

    4:00 PM  -  4:30 PM
    Cover crop interseeding, an opportunity to expand cover crop adoption across the Northeast
    Ballroom
    This presentation will focus on some of our cover crop interseeding research across a three-state region (MD, PA, and NY) focusing on some of the success and also limitations.  We have examined, different species, mixtures, timing, and herbicide programs.  Additional speakers in this session will discuss other methods of cover crop establishment as well as talk about their experience with interseeding.
    Speakers:
     

    Maximizing Benefits with Mixtures

    4:00 PM  -  4:30 PM
    All mixed up: Benefits and drawbacks of cover crop mixtures
    Amphitheater
    Each cover crop species has its strengths and weaknesses in providing services to the farm.  By mixing species with complementary strengths, it’s possible for a cover crop mixture to provide a broader array of services than any one species can provide alone.  But cover crop mixtures come with new challenges, such as selecting the right species to meet specific farm needs, making sure that species growth habits are compatible with each other, and adjusting seeding rates based on site-specific climate and soil fertility regimes so that species in the mix grow evenly and contribute functionality to the mixture.
    Speakers:
     

    Reducing Tillage in Organic Vegetables

    4:00 PM  -  4:30 PM
    Integrating cover crops and strip tillage for organic vegetable production
    Taylor
    Strip tillage vegetable systems can balance some of the soil improving benefits of no-till with the well-known advantages of tillage. However, strip till must overcome multiple barriers to grower adoption that are common to organic reduced tillage systems. It is critical to develop strip till practices that harness cover crop benefits while avoiding the pitfalls with weeds, surface residue, and nitrogen availability. We will share current work that integrates strip tillage with winter hardy cover crops, focusing on legume management, and highlight opportunities for synergy.
    Speakers:
     

    Interseeding into Corn

    4:30 PM  -  5:00 PM
    Interseeding cover crops: Gleanings from 5 years and over 12,000 acres of interseeding
    Ballroom
    This 30 minute session will focus experiences from interseeding cover crops into thousands of acres of corn in Northern Vermont using a variety of methods over a 5 year period. The presentation will focus on practical considerations to make interseeding more effective, as well as, issues that are commonly encountered with different methods of interseeding, mainly broadcast vs. incorporation. Topics discussed will include herbicides, different seeding technologies, seed considerations, weather, corn varieties, and other field based observations.
    Speakers:
     

    Maximizing Benefits with Mixtures

    4:30 PM  -  5:00 PM
    To mix or not to mix: What do the data tell us about cover crop cocktails?
    Amphitheater
    Rich will present data from several recent controlled cover crop studies in which cover crop mixtures and monocultures were assessed for their effects on biomass production, weed suppression, and subsequent crop performance.
    Speakers:
     

    Reducing Tillage in Organic Vegetables

    4:30 PM  -  5:00 PM
    One step at a time: reducing tillage events in vegetable production with cover crops
    Taylor
    Both low and high-residue cover crops can facilitate no-till vegetable planting, but long-term no-till without herbicides remains elusive. I will briefly discuss using winterkilled forage radish for no-till direct seeded spring vegetables and using a combination of winter hardy cover crops and tarps for no-till transplanted summer vegetables. Although neither system eliminates tillage completely, integration of multiple and varied cover cropping strategies may be able to further reduce tillage events.
    Speakers:
     

    Interseeding into Corn

    5:00 PM  -  5:30 PM
    Farmer perspectives on interseeding cover crops
    Ballroom
    Farmer Joe Brightly discusses his experiences, successes, and challenge s with interseeding cover crops; he runs Dawn Duo seed units with Valmar boxes that cover 12 rows. He will touch on cover crops used in full width cover situations to provide a general background for decision making. He will cover managing interseeded cover crops, including herbicides and sidedress application and how it affects the interseeded crop. This presentation will feature extensive photographs from the field.
    Speakers:
     

    Maximizing Benefits with Mixtures

    5:00 PM  -  5:30 PM
    Reduced tillage and use of rolled and crimped cover crops in vegetable crop production
    Amphitheater
    This presentation will cover the successes and failures of rolling and crimping legume and cereal cover crops as a means of weed control in the production of snap beans, edamame, broccoli, cauliflower and sweet corn.  In 2017 Jean-Paul trialed a number of different cover crop mixes to optimize weed control while providing the cash crop with its need for nitrogen.  The challenge was to provide enough biomass with a low C/N ratio cover crop in the brassica’s and sweet corn.  With beans and edamame a straight crop of rye was rolled and crimped with good results.  In the brassicas and sweet corn austrian winter peas, field peas and beans and hairy vetch were used.
    Speakers:
     

    Reducing Tillage in Organic Vegetables

    5:00 PM  -  5:30 PM
    Farmer Discussion
    Taylor
     
    5:30 PM  -  6:30 PM
    Poster Reception - Lightning talks to introduce posters
    Terrace Lounge
    Inspired assortment of heavy hors d'oeuvres and local and seasonal refreshments
    6:30 PM  -  8:00 PM
    Poster Reception - Poster discussion, networking, or dinner on your own
    Terrace Lounge
    Inspired assortment of heavy hors d'oeuvres and local and seasonal refreshments
  • Thursday, November 9, 2017
  •  
    10:00 AM  -  1:00 PM
    November 9 - Big Flats Tour

    Includes an equipment exhibit and field tour of the cover crop demonstration plots at the USDA-NRCS Big Flats Plant Materials Center in Big Flats, NY and a box lunch, if desired.

    Registration for this day is separate and may be completed through this website.

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