Project GoalThe overall goal of this project is to increase the acres of effective cover crops in northern climates to improve soil health and crop health and reduce nonpoint source nutrient pollution to watersheds. This proposal demonstrates the use of innovative practices and a cropping system approach that will help expand the acreage of effective cover crops.The purpose of this project is to work with farmers to modify cropping strategies that lead to well-established interseeded cover crops that improve soil health while maximizing crop yield. This project will have the following objectives:Identify corn silage and cover crop practices that complement each other and lead to maximum productivity of the crop and cover crop. Deliver cover crop and corn cropping system information to over 500 farmers in northern regions through webinars, conference, field days, and online resources. Our research will involve both university station experiments as well as on-farm trials to effectively develop and deliver information to farms in the region. An innovative outreach and educational model will be employed to reach and engage stakeholders within and beyond our region. Over a 3-year period, research station trials will be conducted to determine adaptation of perennial forage species in the context of organic production systems. On-farm replicated strip trials will be initiated in close collaboration with organic dairy farms. The trials will serve to explore alternative pasture and nutrient management strategies on-farm that address root causes of nutrient deficiencies poor forage quality. In addition, these trials will serve as highly-visible and valuable demonstration sites where the farming community can learn firsthand from the research.
INTEGRATING COVER CROPS IN CORN SILAGE PRODUCTION SYSTEMS TO MEET AGRONOMIC AND CONSERVATION GOALS
University of Vermont