While the use of cover crops in local agricultural production is not new, recent interest is likely due to the economic and environmental benefits cover crops provide. Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District offered a cover crop cost-share program in 2019 that focused on drilling the seed but there can be challenges with timing. Trumbull SWCD set up a committee to plan the aerial seeding program that included Board supervisors, an associate supervisor and District staff members. Precision Aerial Ag Service worked with Trumbull SWCD and their Pymatuning/Shenango Watershed partner, Crawford County Conservation District in Pennsylvania to finalize the pilot program. Steve Zvara, with Precision Aerial Ag Service, provided the seeding service and would like to develop a regional effort for aerial seeding. Trumbull SWCD staff will continue working with him on that project.
With Trumbull SWCD’s aerial seeding program, participants were mainly focused on the benefit of erosion control. Cover crops can be used to reduce water and wind erosion and maintaining ground cover through the winter season will help reduce soil loss. This reduction of soil loss is crucial for the farm’s productivity and helpful for improving water quality in the surrounding waterways. Cover crops can help hold nutrients on the field and prevent them from running off into local creeks, streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes during precipitation events.
Other benefits the Trumbull County program participates may see are an improvement in soil quality, improvement in fertility, and grazing season extension. The six farms that participated in Trumbull’s fall 2020 cost-share program for aerial seeding of cover crops were located in Bloomfield, Bristol, Green, Kinsman, Newton, and Vernon Townships. Trumbull SWCD thanks the farmers for working with them in getting conservation practices in the ground. This program planted 223 acres in Trumbull County with cover crops.