Manure Manager

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Farm tour focuses on cover crops, manure


October 25, 2010
By Manure Manager

Oct. 25, 2010 – Cover crop skeptics and believers alike will have an
opportunity to see first-hand how nutrients from manure applications
can be captured, held and recycled to the following season during a
free plot tour Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Blight Farm in
Albion, MI.

Oct. 25, 2010 – Cover crop skeptics and believers alike will have an opportunity to see first-hand how nutrients from manure applications can be captured, held and recycled to the following season during a free plot tour Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Blight Farm in Albion, MI.

Tim Harrigan, Michigan State University Extension specialist and associate professor in the MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, slurry seeded turnip and oilseed radish cover crops – alone and in combination with oats – into wheat stubble. He seeded plots with and without manure and compared drilled plots with those that were slurry seeded.

“Some people think that no-till situations don’t mix with manure and cover crops,” says Harrigan. “Our goal is to show how those situations can be turned into success.”

During the tour, Harrigan will demonstrate the slurry seeding method and discuss past research. He’s tracked nitrogen losses and demonstrated how incorporating a cover crop to take up nitrogen from manure and release it again the following year to a corn crop.

Two farmers – Ken Blight, tour host and hog and beef producer; and Doug Bloom, a Coldwater, dairy producer, will discuss their success in using rye cover crops in combination with manure to decrease manure runoff and capture manure liquids and nutrients; a practice that’s enabled them to reduce their purchased nitrogen inputs in the following season. Bloom has also used the rye cover crop as a green chop feed for dairy heifers.

Roberta Osborne, MSU Extension regional dairy educator, will outline the feed value qualities of rye for dairy cows. Natalie Rector, MSU Extension nutrient management educator, will provide how-to basics of manure and cover crops. Dean Baas, a visiting research associate at the Kellogg Biological Station, an MSU facility that is part of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station network, will show farmers how they can use a new cover crop database to select the one that meets their goals.

The Blight Farm is located at 11301 24 Mile Road, Albion MI.

For more information contact Rector at rector@msu.edu or 269-967-6608. No registration is necessary.


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