Cover Crop Field Day Nov. 15 at Barton Center

cropfieldCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 13, 2013 – Southeast Missouri State University’s David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center will host Cover Crop Field Day Nov. 15 to celebrate receiving a federally-funded conservation innovation grant.

The event is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Center.

Dr. Indi Braden, Southeast associate professor of agriculture, will discuss Southeast’s cover crop field trials. Cover crops can improve soil moisture, improve soil quality, reduce erosion, retain nutrients, reduce pest pressure and provide wildlife habitat and more.

“Best management practices allow farmers to work within the parameters of natural resources for crop production, while conserving resources for future needs,” Braden said. “Cover crops are an example of best management practices.” Cover crops are plants seeded into fields and allowed to grow during or between seasons, resulting in benefits for the environment and for the land, Braden said. Demonstration cover crop plots for research are currently growing at the David M. Barton Agricultural Research Center in Gordonville, Mo. The cover crop plots include various mix ratios of annual ryegrass, cereal rye, wheat, barley, oilseed radish, crimson clover and hairy vetch, she said. Cover Crop Field Day is a cooperative venture with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). A conservation innovation grant is funding the day’s activities. The purpose of the grant is to develop innovative conservation approaches and technologies with financial assistance from the federal government to improve and protect the environment.

Michael Plumer, a cover crop expert and the keynote speaker, will present “Maximizing Crop Yield, Soil Improvements and Economics of Cover Crops.”

Other speakers will include Doug Peterson, NRCS grassland conservationist; Jerry Kaiser, NRCS plant materials specialist; and James Hunt and Monica Siler, of the NRCS cover crop incentives program.

The event is open to everyone, and lunch will be provided.

Michael Plumer Plumer earned a Bachelor of Science in agricultural science from the University of Illinois, and a Master of Science in plant and soil science from Southern Illinois University. He worked at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as the extension educator for agriculture and natural resources, retiring after more than 34 years. He has worked for 37 years in conservation tillage and cover crops. He was involved in Gamma Sigma Delta, the honor society for agriculture, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is currently an international consultant for conservation agriculture, with experience in international programming in more than 10 countries. He is the coordinator of the Illinois Council on best management practices and conducts programming and research in cover crops, conservation and watershed water quality issues.