Learn more about cover crops at the Midwest Cover Crops Council annual meeting

Join the network, learn more about cover crops and share cover crop stories with your neighbors near and afar at the MCCC meeting February 28-29 in West Lafayette, Ind.

coverCover crops have become an important tool for Michigan and Midwest farmers. I have had more questions about using cover crops this year than in the past. Come join us to network and learn more about using cover crops at the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) annual meeting in West Lafayette, Ind. (Purdue University).

The MCCC will host its annual meeting February 28-29 and the Greater Wabash River RC&D will follow with a workshop on soil productivity March 1, both at Purdue University’s Beck Agricultural Center in West Lafayette, Ind. The Beck Agricultural Center is part of the Agronomy Center for Research and Education at 4540 U.S. 52 W., West Lafayette, Ind. (see map).

The MCCC is a regional group dedicated to promoting the widespread adoption of cover crops across the Midwest. The meeting will focus on topics including cover crop selection, conservation benefits, management techniques, regulations, research and more. It is intended for a variety of participants, such as crop producers, extension professionals, seed dealers, agency professionals and researchers.

Eileen Kladivko, Purdue University professor of agronomy and MCCC Indiana state representative, says they are planning a program that includes farmer-producer panels to talk about their experiences with cover crops and tips they have learned from their experiences. They’ll have speakers from outside the region bringing in ideas from the east and west, and they’re going to have a number of speakers from the Midwest talking about nematodes, disease suppression, biofumigation, nitrogen cycling, economics and manure management with cover crops. Kladivko really hopes producers will go away with new ideas – some they will be able to use immediately and some they can think about for the future.

Participants also will have the chance to learn about some of the big issues involving cover crops and to have their questions answered about various crops.

Two Michigan State University  professors will present at the conference, George Bird on cover crop impacts on nematodes, and Mathieu Ngouajio on practical ways to use cover crops as biofumigants.

One of the hot topics in cover crops is oilseed radish. It’s very exciting because it grows a nice, big tuber and takes up a lot of nitrogen. It also can break up compaction. However, one of the questions is, although oilseed radish takes up that nitrogen, does it release it at the right time for our main crop the next year? There will be a few people at the meeting who are talking about radishes, their various effects and how to manage them.

Registration for the February 28 MCCC morning working session and afternoon session is free, but participants must register for lunch. Those who register for the February 29-March 1 sessions by February 14 can attend for $25 per day, or $40 for both days. After February 14, the rates are $35 per day or $50 for both days. Registration fees include lunch and a copy of the Cover Crop Field Guide, which will be newly available at the meeting. A brochure with registration, lodging and transportation information is available.

In addition to the Midwest Cover Crops Council and Purdue University, meeting partners include the Greater Wabash River Resource Conservation and Development Council, Great Lakes Regional Water Program, Great Lakes Cover Crop Initiative and North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

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