Soil health, water quality and bioenergy among topics at workshop

Growers and anyone interested in learning more about soil, water quality and bioenergy, in addition to the latest research on blueberries, hops and aquaculture, can learn more at a workshop Aug. 27-28 at the Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon.

Some of the workshops and field demonstrations will be led by scientists with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The event is part of a joint meeting of the Association of Ohio Pedologists and the Soil and Water Conservation Society, which will hold their summer meeting and workshops at OSU South Centers.

Rafiq Islam, who holds joint appointments with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, will discuss his research on water quality and public health during a field presentation and demonstration at the workshop Aug. 27.

OSU Extension, OARDC and South Centers are all part of the college.

Islam’s work looks at organic production systems and the impact of long-term tillage and cover crops’ effect on soil health and ecosystem services.

“Planting a cover crop cocktail such as Sudan-sorghum, oilseed radish, cereal rye, pearl millet, cowpea, soybeans or Austrian winter pea has been proven to supply the required amount of nitrogen to crops, lower inputs, increase crop yields and improve soil health,” Islam said. “Improving soil health is necessary to get higher crop yields, to minimize the usage of fertilizer and herbicides, and to better manage the soil without plowing the ground.”

His discussion will also include information on different bioenergy plants suitable for growing in Ohio.

The Aug. 27 workshop will also feature presentations by:

* Brad Bergefurd, a horticulturist with OSU Extension and OARDC, who will talk about his research and demonstration studies on plasticulture strawberries production, tomato variety trials, and hops, which are in growing demand for Ohio breweries.

* Gary Gao, an OSU Extension specialist and associate professor of small fruit crops at OSU South Centers, who will discuss his research and demonstration studies on brambles, blueberries and wine grapes grown with and without high-tunnel effects.

* Laura Tiu, an aquaculture specialist with OSU Extension, who will discuss her aquaculture research operations, especially Yellow Perch breeding, and raising shrimp and Sturgeon.

The two-daylong workshop will include discussions on the following issues:

* New Ohio sewage rules updates.

* Site evaluation and system design strategies for severe sites.

* High risk, low risk, vertical separation and adjustments to the Ohio Tyler Table.

* Presentations in the field.

* Allowable sewage system types.

* Engineered drainage.

The workshop will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 27-28 at the OSU South Centers, 1864 Shyville Road, in Piketon. Registration is $75 for one day and $150 for both days and includes lunch. The deadline to register is Aug. 21.

For more information on the meeting, workshops or to register:

* Soil and Water Conservation members can contact John Armentano at 937-483-8581.  Registration can be paid by check payable to All Ohio Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society and can be mailed to Armentano at 3635 Dayspring Drive, Hilliard, 43026.

* Association of Ohio Pedologists members can contact Jeff Glanville at 614-255-2507. Registration can be paid by check payable to Association of Ohio Pedologists and can be mailed to Glanville at 107 Southwind Drive, Gahanna, 43230.

* All others can contact Charissa McGlothin at OSU South Centers at 740-289-2071, ext. 132, or

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