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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Penn State Extension Hosts Cover Crops Field Walk

Penn State Extension Hosts Cover Crops Field Walk

Penn State Extension gathers with farmers in Harrison Valley to discuss the importance of Cover Crops.

Local farmers recently attended a field day hosted by Penn State Extension at Lehman’s Farm in Harrison Valley. Phil Lehman spoke about the history of his operation. He explained the importance of using double cropping and cover crops to maintain soil health, sequester nutrients from manure and when necessary produce additional forage or grains. 

Sjoerd Duiker, Ph.D. of Penn State University introduced the cover crop trials to the farmers. As the grouped walked through the variety of crops, they discussed which would be the most viable in this cooler part of the state, as well as their alternative uses, biomass production and ability to absorb nutrients during different parts of the winter. A great take home message for the farmers was “timing is everything.” In the rush of fall harvest, planting a winter crop may not be at the top of farmers’ minds, but planting cover crops early in this region is essential to their success. In addition, Lehman planted triticale around the plot just a few weeks after the plot went in and the noticeable difference in growth was great.

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