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April 6 Field Day to Showcase No Till With Cover Crops Cropping System


April 1, 2021

Photo courtesy of Tonya Gratz

A shovel can tell one a lot about the health of the soil. Cover crops and no till increase soil health. There will be a lot to discover at the April 6 field day put on by the Farmers of the Sugar River.

Farmers are using new ways to grow crops that save time, money and build better soil health. Converting to a no till with cover crops cropping system is the central theme for the field day to be held at the Nancy Coplien Farm, N2793 County S, north of Juda, on April 6, 2021. The field day will start at 10:30 a.m. and end after lunch.

Farmers that have cover crops planted and growing, the spring planting window is an opportunity to learn to plant green. To plant green, a farmer plants the crop (typically corn or soybeans) into a living, growing cover crop, often a cereal rye. It's a key part of building soil health to keep a living root feeding the soil biology as much of the year as possible. Planting into this system takes a few tweaks to the planter and will be shown and discussed.

There are a variety of cover crops planted on the farm, as well as some at different rates. There is winter wheat after soybeans, cereal rye after corn for grain and an 8-way mix (of berseem clover, hairy vetch, red clover, crimson clover, flax, buckwheat, oats and radish) after winter wheat was taken off last summer. Some of the species winter killed and others didn't. Farmers will talk about different timing and species that might work for their systems.

Gypsum has been used for several years on the farm and contributes to the fertilizer program. It is a soil amendment that adds calcium and sulfur nutrients to the soil, as well as changes the physical structure of the soil. Gypsum can come in several forms and serves many functions to the system.

Photo courtesy of Tonya Gratz

A cover crop of winter wheat was planted after soybean harvest last fall. There are a variety of cover crops that will be looked at on the April 6 field day north of Juda.

An emerging market that farmers are interested in is carbon sequestering. Representatives from Bayer will be on hand to highlight Bayer's Carbon Credit Program. The practices that will be discussed at the field day are practices that sequester carbon in the soil. Capturing carbon and holding it in the soil is very good for the overall health of the environment.

As you can tell, there will be a variety of topics to be covered on Tuesday, April 6. The field day is hosted by Jacob Kaderly, a Certified Crop Advisor. Lunch is sponsored by Farmers of the Sugar River, a local producer-led watershed group. Lunch will be provided, so please RSVP to Tonya Gratz with the Green County Land and Water Conservation Department by Monday, April 5. You may do so by calling or texting (608) 426-2218 or sending an email to her at Any other questions about the day or Farmers of the Sugar River group can be sent to her as well.


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