CTC supports no-till and cover crop research

Ohio State University’s annual Conservation Tillage Conference is well known for providing research-based agronomic information that helps farmers increase their operations’ financial bottom lines.

The conference, which is sponsored by the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, offers the latest research, insight, tips and techniques on conservation tillage, including cover crops, no-till, soil quality, seeding technology, water quality and nutrient management for growers, crop consultants and agribusinesses.

But the two-day CTC also funds mini-grants for researchers who in turn are able to present their findings at the following year’s event, according to Randall Reeder, a retired Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer and a CTC organizer. OSU Extension is the college’s statewide outreach arm.

In fact, CTC has provided some $130,000 in funding since 2004 for research that in turn has directly benefited Ohio growers, Reeder said. The grants are awarded to farmers and to CFAES and Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) professionals.

“From research on nitrogen rates and timing of application, to crop rotation and tillage systems, the grants have funded projects that have helped support the goals of CTC,” Reeder said. “The grants help fund research projects that enable us to provide the most accurate, reliable and current information to participants.”

A total of 12 grants were funded this year, including two funded by the Ohio No-Till Council.

Topics to be researched because of this year’s grants:

* Phosphorus/nitrate removal by bioreactor and controlled drainage; Mike Libben, Ottawa SWCD, and Al Gahler, OSU Extension, Sandusky County.

* Nitrogen rate sensor for corn; Harold Watters, OSU Extension field specialist.

* Effects of overseeded cover crops on agronomic crops, Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension.

* Winter pea cover in a corn/soy rotation, Mike Gastier, OSU Extension.

* Manure nutrient absorption by cereal rye cover; Amanda Douridas, OSU Extension.

* Evaluation of starter fertilizer for corn production; Ed Lentz, OSU Extension.

* Terminating cereal rye cover crop by crimper roller or glyphosate; Florian Chirra, OSU Extension, and Albert Brown, Williams SWCD.

* Soil compaction effects on soil properties and crop vigor, measured partly by remote sensing; Scott Shearer and Andrew Klopfenstein, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, CFAES.

* Conservation practices’ impact on nutrient loads in 10 small watersheds; Kendall Stucky, Seneca SWCD.

* Developing a baseline data set of western corn rootworm populations in varied corn production systems; Curtis Young, OSU Extension.

* Using cover crops to improve no-till system productivity and relieve compaction; Larry Brown, OSU Extension agricultural engineer, and Matt Davis, Northwest Agricultural Research Station, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).

* Putnam County SHARP (Soil Health and Research Plots) project to improve water quality; Jim Hoorman, OSU Extension, and Albert Maag, SWCD.

Past projects have included research on manure application, on-farm nitrogen rates, cover crops, soybean seeding rates, controlled drainage, nitrogen rates for wheat, and water quality issues from nitrogen and phosphorus, Reeder said.

The conference, which is offered by OSU Extension and OARDC, annually draws more than 900 participants. OARDC is the college’s research arm.

In all, the two-day conference features some 60 presenters, including more than 20 CFAES researchers and Extension educators, farmers, and industry representatives. In addition to a “Corn University” and a “Soybean School,” information presented typically includes nutrient management, water quality, advanced scouting, no-till machinery and precision farming, Reeder said.

The conference is sponsored by OSU Extension, OARDC, the Ohio Soybean Council, the Ohio Corn Marketing Program, Northwest Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Ohio No-Till Council, with support from more than 30 agribusinesses.

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