Past Events

2013 Delaware / Blackford County Soil Fertility Field Day 

The use of cover crops as a management tool for improving soil health will be discussed during a program at the Eaton Community Building, 600 E. Harris St., 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26.The meeting is targeted at farm operators, agribusiness employees, educators, and anyone with an interest in learning more about the use of cover crops in production agriculture. Hans Kok, coordinator of the Indiana Conservation Cropping Initiative, will speak. The program is hosted by Purdue Extension, USDA-NRCS, and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts for Delaware and Blackford counties.Registration is requested by Feb. 22. For more information, and to register, contact Michael O'Donnell at (765) 747-7732 or modonnel@purdue.edu.

2011 Tri-County SWCD 2011 Soil Fertility Field Day 
As part of our cover crop program (featured on page 1), the Delaware Soil &Water Conservation District partnered with the Blackford and Randolph county SWCD’s to put on a soil fertility field day. Last June we went out to Coulter Farms and borrowed their newly renovated equipment barn (the concrete floor had barely dried), along with a strip of one of the fields for a cover crop demo site and a soil pit. After the awful spring we had here, it was a big relief to have the sun come out for the field day. We also had about 70 people show up, in spite of the late planting season. Also on hand was Gary Truitt, covering the event for Hoosier Ag Today. We got quite a bit of press from HAT, with a feature story and another article in two different newsletters. Ron Orebaugh and Grand Grilling To Go served up a great lunch after the morning session. 

We started off the morning session with coffee, juice, and donuts and heard from Scot Haley, NRCS Soil Scientist, on the Web Soil Survey. Scot took us on a tour of the website and showed us how to use the system to look up soils information for farm use. For more information on accessing and using the Web Soil Survey, see the article on page 12. After looking at soils online, we went out to the soil pit for a discussion on soil structure. The pit had been dug between two of the cover crop demo plots so we could see what was happening under the surface with the rooting systems of the different cover crops. What we saw were annual ryegrass roots extending far below the surface, although the seed had gone in the ground only 6 weeks before the field day. Scot showed us the different soil layers and talked about clay content and organic matter. 

Hans Kok with the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative and Greg Downing with Cisco Seeds walked us through the different cover crop demo plots next. Cisco donated seed for 7 plots which included several of their mixes (containing various combinations of oats, winter (cereal) rye, turnips, radishes, crimson clover, annual ryegrass, and Austrian winter peas). Three of the plots were dedicated solely to Austrian winter peas, AU Robin Crimson Clover, and Jackson Annual Ryegrass. Greg and Hans discussed the benefits and drawbacks of each and took a shovel to 

them so that we could see what was going on under the surface. Halso discussed using cover crops as part of a total conservation cropping system to build organic matter, keep nitrates in the system and out of the tile, and break up compaction. Reynolds Farm Equipment provided a no-till planter for us to take a look at, and Hans used it to go over the necessary features and adjustments for successful no-till planting. 

After lunch, we boarded a bus and went up the road to Davis-Purdue farm to check out some research Purdue is doing on planting corn into annual ryegrass. Jeff Boyer, farm manager, gave us a tour of the research plots and talked about the trial and error that went into planting the plots with both 

the cover crops and the corn, given the weather challenges of a dry fall (late cover crop germination) and the wet spring (I don’t think I need to elaborate on that one!). We ended the day back at Coulters’ and quite a few folks stayed around to talk to Hans afterward. 


Thanks to our field day sponsors: 

· Farm Credit Services 

· Reynolds Farm Equipment 

· Harvest Land Co-op 

· The Andersons 

· Hall Farms