A cover crop field day will be held on the Dan and Crystal Ley farm near Richmond on Tuesday, May 16.
The Leys participated in a three-year Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to determine the potential economic value of various winter small grains planted as cover crops in the fall, and harvested in the spring as silage.
Dan planted cereal rye, winter triticale, spelt and winter wheat in strips on a 12-acre field in the fall of 2015 and 2016. He has been measuring silage yield and forage quality of the cover crops as well as yield impact on the following soybean crop.
Dan also tracked changes in soil health in the small grain fields, and compared that to an adjacent check strip with no cover crops. Standard series soil tests, along with the new Haney Soil Health Tool, were also run on each strip.
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He also monitored physical soil changes including soil temperature, soil moisture, permeability and compaction. The Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District and Ag Resources Consulting Inc. of Albany assisted Dan with these tests.
The field day will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 16. Visitors will see what these crops look like prior to harvest and hear speakers from the University of Minnesota Extension, Ag Resources Consulting and the SWCD summarize the data, including economic value of the winter small-grain silage.
There is no cost to attend the event. A light lunch with refreshments will be provided.
The farm is at 24198 222nd St. in Richmond.
Directions from the east: Drive 4½ miles west of Richmond on State Highway 23 to 246th Avenue, then go about ½ mile north on 246th Avenue to 222nd Street, then go east about ¼ mile on 222nd Street to the site.
Directions from the west: Drive about ½ mile east of Roscoe on Highway 23, then north on 246th Avenue as above. Signs will be posted.
For more information, contact Brad Wenz at 320-251-7800, ext. 3, or visit the SWCD website at stearnscountyswcd.net.
Source: Stearns SWCD