Cornell Cooperative Extension in the Capital Area is holding a series of Farmer Discussion Group meetings December 9-17 about cover crops, a useful management practice to improve soil health and farm profitability.

 The series will be held:

  • AgroForestry Center, 6055 Rte 23, Acra, NY (December 9 from noon – 2 p.m.)
  • CCE office meeting room, 479 Rte 66, Hudson, NY (December 15  noon – 2 p.m.)
  • Proudfit Hall, 181 South Main St. (Rte 22), Salem, NY (December 16 noon – 2 p.m.)
  • Home of Brian Wilson, 668 Middle Rd., Knox, NY (December 17 noon – 2 p.m.)

Cover crops prevent erosion, capture excess nutrients, reduce weeds and diseases, improve soil health, and can be harvested for livestock feed. Cereal rye is a common and very effective cover crop for our area.  However, there are many options for field crops and especially for vegetable crops since vegetable growers harvest and plant crops at many different times throughout the year.

Farmers are continually improving their production practices, which is important as weather becomes more extreme.  Swings from large rain storms to extended dry periods can be managed by improving soil health.  Cover cropping helps farmers improve water infiltration into the soil during the big storms.  It also increases the soil’s water-holding capacity for dry spells, like this past July and August.  When you also consider that cover crops reduce soil erosion and the value of one or two tons of topsoil they save, cover crops have a big economic impact for farmers.

A PowerPoint presentation by Aaron Gabriel will cover the economics of cover crops; options of what to grow; and how to make it work on your farm. Come learn the innovative ways that farmers are using cover crops.

RSVP to Tove Ford, 518-765-3518 or tff24@cornell.edu