Free workshop on sustainable bioenergy cropping systems

This Aug. 29 program will focus on the agronomics of bioenergy and traditional cropping systems. Learn how to get started with bioenergy crops or evaluate what you have.

Aerial view of cellulosic biofuels research experiment by the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and KBS Long-Term Ecological Research. Photo credit: K. Stepnitz, Michigan State University

Aerial view of cellulosic biofuels research experiment by the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and KBS Long-Term Ecological Research. Photo credit: K. Stepnitz, Michigan State University

A daylong event including classroom learning and field tours of research plots will take place on August 29, 2014 at the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) near Hickory Corners, Michigan. Michigan State University Extension will provide participants with the latest research updates as well as some new tools for managing crops like corn, switchgrass and miscanthus.

Experts from Michigan, Ohio and Maryland will be presenting information on bioenergy cropping systems, biobased products, aerial seeding cover crops, greenhouse gas emissions and socio-economics of growing bioenergy crops. Field tours will showcase the latest research in corn and soybean rotations including a nitrogen/irrigation gradient, no-till vs conventional tillage and corn stover management for long term soil health. Participants will learn about switchgrass, miscanthus, hybrid poplar and native prairie from the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center plots. A rainfall simulator will also be used to show the effect of rain on various crop and tillage systems.

Participants will go home with a training manual (on USB drives), Soil Quality Test Kit and an ecosystem services calculator. These tools can be used to help farmers and conservationists evaluate various management options on their farms. Everything from how to grow switchgrass to estimate the impact of corn stover removal on soil organic matter.

This program is part of four multi-state workshops in Maryland, Michigan and Ohio to educate professionals including extension educators, conservation district staff, NRCS staff, graduate students, Farm Bureau members, farmers and farm leaders to equip them with science-based knowledge, teaching materials, and assessment tools. Thanks to a grant from the Northeast Sun Grant program, this event will be free of charge.

You must register for the event by August 27. For more information, contact Dennis Pennington at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 269-838-8265 or download the flyer.

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