Institutionalizing Cover Crop Research and Education in the Southeast

Project Overview

SC14-001
Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2015: $129,712.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2017
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Dr. S. Chris Reberg-Horton
North Carolina State University

Commodities

  • Agronomic: corn, cotton, millet, oats, sorghum (milo), soybeans, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Fruits: berries (strawberries)
  • Animals: bees, bovine

Practices

  • Animal Production: grazing management, grazing - rotational, stockpiled forages, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, workshop
  • Natural Resources/Environment: soil stabilization, carbon sequestration
  • Pest Management: biological control, competition, mulches - killed, mulches - living, physical control
  • Soil Management: green manures, nutrient mineralization, soil microbiology, organic matter, soil quality/health

    Abstract:

    This proposal bought together multiple states and a diversity of institutions to host a comprehensive two day cover crop conference for our region.  One day of the conference was devoted to identifying priorities in research and extension and coordinating the response across the diverse institutions involved.  Workshops were organized to utilize the diversity of collaborators involved.  In addition to the invited speakers, interdisciplinary teams were assigned to many sessions to foster dialogue.  The second day was reserved for demonstrations of new technologies and to share the best field demonstrations determined by a panel that solicited entries from our entire region.  The conference also served to launch the Southern Cover Crops Council which will provide ongoing support to SARE and other agencies in guiding cover crop research, education and outreach programs.  The conference organized cover crop information from many of the workshops and field demonstrations into factsheets that were made available through SSARE for farmers and advisors. Videos from the field demonstrations are also available on the SSARE website.

    Project objectives:

    1. Develop an interdisciplinary team across the region to host a conference tasked with (a) summarizing what is known in various sub-regions, (b) identifying uncertainties about cover crop benefits and management, and (c) strategizing a path forward to build a successful network for research, education, and technology transfer throughout the southeastern region.
    2. Explore educational approaches and tools that have the potential to drive greater adoption of single and multi-species cover crops in our region.
    3. Establish a Southern Cover Crop Council for our region that will institutionalize the partnerships brought together for the conference and continue providing coordination after the term of the grant is over.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.