- Agronomic: corn, soybeans
- Crop Production: cover crops, no-till
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
- Natural Resources/Environment: soil stabilization
- Pest Management: mulches - killed
- Production Systems: transitioning to organic
- Soil Management: green manures
No-till, which is practiced on 17 and 30 percent of national and Northeast crop land, respectively, has demonstrated its ability to conserve soil resources. However, conventional no-till is highly dependent on the use of herbicides. The Rodale Institute has demonstrated that no-till planting, in combination with intensive cover cropping, can reduce or eliminate the need for herbicide use while capitalizing on the soil health benefits of both no tillage and intensive cover cropping. The Rodale Institute has designed a heavy duty roller/crimper to be used in combination with cover crops to create a no-till planting system to plant crops without tillage, reduce or eliminate herbicides and increase the sustainability of Northeast farms.
The Rodale Institute will partner with The Pennsylvania State University and farmers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York to increase adoption of cover crop roller technology among organic and conventional farmers across the Northeast. To do this, we propose to investigate the effects of cover crop management on no-till corn and soybeans. Through collaboration with the Cooperative Extension Service and outreach efforts of The Rodale Institute, research findings will be disseminated through farmer meetings, bulletins, and online communications.
While this technology will impact many farmers across the region, we will specifically track those farmers who attend training events to determine their adoption of the practices. Of the 160 farmers who will attend field day events, 25 will use a cover crop roller on their farms, and 8 will experience enough success that they will increasingly adopt the technology during the subsequent 3 years and will greatly reduce or eliminate use of herbicides annually on at least 1,500 acres.
Performance targets from proposal:
While this technology will impact many farmers across the region, we will track the 160 farmers who attend training events to determine their adoption of the practices. Of the 25 farmers who have been targeted as early adopters and who will use the techniques and tools demonstrated in this project, 10 will experience enough success that they will increasingly adopt the technology during the subsequent 3 years and will greatly reduce or eliminate the use of herbicides annually on at least 1,500 acres.