Southern Cover Crop Conference 2019, July 16-17
At the Auburn University Hotel & Conference Center
The 2019 Southern Cover Crop Conference will bring researchers, Extension personnel, farmers, and ag industry specialists together discover the latest information related to cover crops in the South.
Workshop Session Topics
This session will focus on information presented by growers that goes beyond the “basics” of cover crops. There will be 3 to 4 growers from across the southern region that represent different production systems to define how they overcame challenges associated with cover crops in their farming operations. Each grower will describe how they addressed specific challenges, which include management and/or equipment challenges specific to their operation, that allowed them to successfully incorporate and maintain cover crops in their operations.
Soil Biology and Fertility – Working with Cover Crops to Maximize Benefits
The “livestock” in the soil are responsible for fixing available nitrogen as well as making nutrients and micronutrients soluble. As a consequence, soil microbes are a vital part of a productive farm system. Cover crops play a key part in providing the the right soil conditions for microbial communities to flourish. This session will explore new insights into how cover cropping and particular cover crop species add carbon to the soil (microbial food source) and help promote microbial activity and biomass that will increase nutrient cycling.
Nutrient use and cycling with covercrop inclusive systems
This session will focus on optimizing fertilizer use practices in cover crop inclusive systems. Farmers and scientists will discuss the benefits and challenges to managing soil nutrients when using cover crops. Farmers speaking in the session will provide detailed discussion on what makes their practice successful on their farm, and the road they traveled to get there. Research and Extension scientists will provide discussions on how to theoretically best exploit the cycling behavior of nutrients in the soil. Time will be set aside for a question and answer period with the audience at the end.
Choosing Cover Crops
Producers have choices of cover crop species and of cultivars within those species. This session will present information on the variability of cover crop cultivars in the southeast and how producers may use this variability to put together cover crop mixes.
Soil Physical Properties and Soil Moisture
Improving soil pore space is one potential benefit of growing cover crops. Optimum soil structure creates opportunities for maximum crop yield by improving plant available water, crop water and nutrient uptake, and irrigation efficiency in the humid southern US.
So you want to graze cover crops?
This session will focus on information presented by farmers and ranchers who are grazing cover crops as part of their crop and forage rotations. There will be several producers from across the south representing different crop and forage production systems in different environments. Each producer will share what they think is important or beneficial to know about grazing cover crops based on their experience and how they are integrating cover crop grazing into their productions systems. While the agronomics of growing cover crops to be grazed is important, these talks will focus mainly on the livestock and grazing considerations that must be considered when combining the two.
Weed Management with Cover Crops
This session will focus on weed management, primarily in row crops. Growers who utilize cover crops for weed management will discuss their challenges and weigh these against benefits received. The latest research information will also be presented, as well as information on effective herbicide termination of different types of cover crops.
Impact of federal and state policies on cover crop adoption
This session will include discussion of current and potential policy approaches that can impact the adoption of cover crops. Specific topics to be covered will be new Farm Bill changes on cover crop termination rules pertaining to cover crops, current approaches on federal and state incentive payments on cover crops, federal research and conservation priorities, and potential policy changes in support of cover crops.
Cover crop use in conventional and organic vegetable systems
This session will focus on challenges to use of cover crops to address cropping systems challenges in both conventional and organic vegetable systems. In addition to research scientists, the session will include growers who successfully use cover crops as tools to manage vegetable cropping systems challenges, including soil fertility and quality, pest management, and environmental protection.
Essentials of Cover Crop MANAGEMENT
Cover crops need to be managed like your main crop. This session will help you get practical information to consider when making decision on your operation. Items like timing, decision making on what to plant, how to fit it in your rotation, and other topics will be covered.