Participants are pleased with the information coming out of this week’s Foraging into the Future Conference.
Yesterday participants covered a variety of topics from soil health to water development, economics and grazing management.
Kevin Elmy from Friendly Acres Seed Farm at Saltcoats spoke to producers about the benefits of using cover crops and how they can help to increase soil health.
"Each one has a different little nitch, so if you're dealing with sealineareas where you cosha issues then you play around with the sweet clovers, sort them, sweet clover if you have good moisture otherwise use safflower and sunflower. If you're dealing with a quick recovery, smothering and compete against weeds, then you play around with radishes, turnips, and hybrid brassica. Then you get into wanting to do major production, we have some non-GMO corn you can do a mixture in, japanese millet, pro millet, oats, barely, winter triticale, forged collars is another good broad leaf to use. I was out in the field a couple of days ago and they're still green out in the field," Elmy said.
Cover crops are generally grown for a year and then terminated to keep the nutrients in the soil.
He also talked about how cover crops have improved the soil not only in his operation but others as well.
"There is one producer from Hannah, he grew one quarter section of radishes in the fall and he said what a waste of time because they were the size of his thumb. The next year he went seeding into it, he seeded oats across the road, went into where the radishes were and he said the soil was nice and mellow. When he started harvesting that fall he said there was a 40 bushel difference between the two fields. When you play around with that, there is the weed smothering, hard bent remediation, there is a lot of different things and this is where the goal setting comes in," he said.
Elmy says farmers can mix various crops depending on their overall goal.