Classroom - Classes


Cover Crops 2.0 Webinar Series

Cover crops are being promoted widely by the USDA-NRCS and other groups as a way to improve soil health. The issues producers in semiarid regions face in growing cover crops are much different than those in humid regions. In dryland production in much of the Great Plains, annual precipitation alone is insufficient to grow an annual crop, and producers use fallow to store water from precipitation in the soil. The cost of growing a cover crop is often yield reduction in the following economic crop since the cover crop uses precipitation and limits water storage in the soil. Irrigation may be required to incorporate cover crops into a cropping system, and the economics seldom allow the expense of irrigation on a non-economic crop. When water is limiting, microbial activity in soil processes is slowed, and so benefits seen in humid regions either happen more slowly or may not be realized under dyland production in semiarid regions.  This series will address cover crops research and application in the western portions of the Northern and Central Great Plains.

CEUs:
CCA/CPAg:
Limitations to Use of Cover Crops in Dryland Cropping Systems of the Semi-Arid Central Great Plains (0.5 Soil and Water Management and 0.5 Crop Management)
Replacing Fallow with Cover Crops and Annual Forages in the Semi-Arid Central Great Plains (0.5 Soil and Water Management and 0.5 Crop Management)
The Good, Bad and Ugly of Cover Crops in the Semi-Aird Northern Great Plains (0.5 Nutrient Management and 0.5 Soil and Water Management)

CPSS/CPSC/CST: 1.0 Professional Meetings per webinar

$65.00 Members/Certified Professionals
$108.00 Non-members

Included webinars in this series package are:
Limitations to Use of Cover Crops in Dryland Cropping Systems of the Semi-Arid Central Great Plains
Replacing Fallow with Cover Crops and Annual Forages in the Semi-Arid Central Great Plains
The Good, Bad and Ugly of Cover Crops in the Semi-Aird Northern Great Plains

Each webinar may also be purchased individually by clicking on the individual title below.   A series bundle purchase provides a discount.

You have 30 days to view this content after purchase.

Self-Paced

If you are enrolled in this class, please log in to see the class materials.

Class cost: $ 108.00

Add to Cart

 

Limitations to Use of Cover Crops in Dryland Cropping Systems of the Semi-Arid Central Great Plains

Cover crop use is being widely promoted throughout the entire United States because of the potential benefits related to protecting and improving the soil. However, data from studies conducted in semiarid environments such as the central Great Plains (where water is the single most limiting factor to crop production) indicate that cover crop water use may result in significant yield loss in following crops such as winter wheat. This presentation examines the reasons for why many of the benefits associated with cover crop use may not be seen in this water-limited environment. These reasons have to do with the differences in both the atmospheric forces driving crop evapotranspiraton (water use) and the available precipitation that occur in different regions of the country. Data from both long- and short-term experiments conducted under dryland conditions are presented that document cover crop water use (both from single-species and mixed-species plantings) and the effects of that water use on subsequent winter wheat yield. Costs associated with cover crop use are also documented. Major concerns for dryland crop production in this region are reduction of soil erosion potential and effective storage of precipitation. These two concerns may best be dealt with by good no-till management of existing crop residues rather than incorporation of cover crops into the cropping system.

CEUs:
CCA/CPAg: 0.5 Soil and Water Management and 0.5 Crop Management
CPSS/CPSC/CST: 1.0 Professional Meetings

Speaker Information:
David C. Nielsen
USDA-ARS Central Great Plains Research Station
Research Agronomist

David C. Nielsen is a Research Agronomist with the USDA-ARS Central Great Plains Research Station in Akron, CO. He grew up on a diversified crop/livestock farm in north-central Iowa. He earned his B.S. (meteorology) and M.S. (agronomy/agricultural climatology) degrees from Iowa State University, and his Ph.D. degree (bioenvironmental engineering) from the University of Nebraska. Dr. Nielsen’s research program focuses on crop water use and water stress effects on crop productivity in dryland and irrigated cropping systems in the Great Plains. He conducts research that evaluates effects of tillage intensity and cropping frequency on crop residue and subsequent effects on precipitation storage efficiency and crop growth, development, and yield. His work has led to the implementation of more diversified and intense cropping systems, which decrease the frequency of inefficient and environmentally unsustainable fallow periods. He has used cropping systems simulation modeling to understand the complex interactions involved in Great Plains dryland agricultural production. Dr. Nielsen has served as an associate editor for Agronomy Journal and Crop Science.  He has been active in and is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. He is a faculty affiliate with the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences of Colorado State University and an adjunct professor with the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture of the University of Nebraska.

Jacob Wagers
Producer, Eastern Colorado

Justin Wagers
Producer, Eastern Colorado

$25.00 Members/Certified Professionals
$40.00 Non-members

You have 30 days to view this content after purchase.

Self-Paced

CEUs

Soil & Water Management   0.5
Crop Management   0.5
Professional Meetings (PM)   1.0

If you are enrolled in this class, please log in to see the class materials.

Class cost: $ 40.00

Add to Cart

 

Replacing Fallow with Covers Crops and Annual Forages in the Semi-Arid Central Great Plains

Producers are interested in growing cover crops and reducing fallow. Growing a crop during the fallow period would increase profitability if crop benefits exceeded expenses. Benefits of growing a cover crop have been shown in high-rainfall areas, but limited information is available on growing cover crops in place of fallow in the semiarid Great Plains. A study from 2007–2014 evaluated cover crops, annual forages, and short-season grain crops grown in place of fallow. In the first experiment (2007–2012), the rotation was no-till wheat-fallow, and in the second experiment (2012–2014), the rotation was no-till wheat-grain sorghum-fallow. Wheat yield was affected by the previous crop, but growing a previous crop as hay or cover did not affect wheat yield. Wheat yield following the previous crop was dependent on precipitation during fallow and the growing season. In dry years (2011–2013), growing a crop during the fallow period reduced wheat yields, whereas growing a crop during the fallow period had little impact on wheat yield in wet years (2008–2010). The length of the fallow period also affected yields of the following wheat crop. Growing a cover or hay crop until June 1 affected wheat less than if continuous wheat, grain pea, or safflower were grown until grain harvest, which was approximately the first week of July. Cover crops did not improve wheat yield. Winter and spring lentil had the least negative impact on wheat yield, and yielded similar to fallow when averaged across years. Winter cover crop treatments tended to reduce yield more than spring cover crop treatments, which was due to less soil moisture available at wheat planting following winter cover crop compared with spring cover crop treatments. To be successful, the benefits of growing a cover crop during the fallow period must be greater than the expense of growing it; plus compensate for any negative yield impacts on the subsequent crop. Cover crops always resulted in less profit than fallow, whereas annual forages and grain peas often increased profit compared with fallow. The negative effects on wheat yields might be minimized with flex-fallow, which is the process of only growing a crop in place of fallow in years when there is ample soil moisture at the time of making the decision to plant.  

CEUs:
CCA/CPAg: 0.5 Soil and Water Management and 0.5 Crop Management
CPSS/CPSC/CST: 1.0 Professional Meetings

Speaker Information:
John Holman
Kansas State University
Associate Professor

John Holman grew up on a diversified crop and livestock operation in Montana. He received his B.S. degrees in plant science and agriculture business and his M.S. degree in weed science from Montana State University. His Ph.D. was from the University of Idaho, where he worked on alternatives to burning Kentucky bluegrass seed production fields.  He joined Kansas State University in 2006 and is currently an Associate Professor with a 70% Research and 30% Extension appointment.  His research involves crop rotations, forages, improving water use efficiency, and integrated weed management.

Mark Watson
Producer

Mark Watson is a producer from Alliance, NE.  He operates a grain farm consisting of 3,500 acres, 1,300 acres irrigated with center pivots, 2,200 acres dry land crop production that has been in continuous no-till for more than 20 years.  Mark has experimented with cover crops and companion crops for the past 10 years on a limited basis in a crop rotation that consists of winter wheat, corn, and pinto beans on irrigated acres, and winter wheat, corn, yellow field peas on dry land acres.  He has concerns with use of cover crops in our semi-arid environment on all our acres.  He sees adding more diversity into our system with the use of forage crops for grazing as part of our cropping rotation on our dry land acres.  He thinks this makes the most sense as we add diversity into our farming system and at the same time add diversity into our marketing by adding livestock to our operation.  He believes this approach will allow us to manage moisture without stretching the limits of what our environment can handle.

$25.00 Members/Certified Professionals
$40.00 Non-members

You have 30 days to view this content after purchase.

Self-Paced

CEUs

Soil & Water Management   0.5
Crop Management   0.5
Professional Meetings (PM)   1.0

If you are enrolled in this class, please log in to see the class materials.

Class cost: $ 40.00

Add to Cart

 

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Cover Crops in the Semi-Arid Northern Great Plains

Clain Jones will present results from a decade of studies led by his colleague, Perry Miller, on the use of single species cover crops as summer fallow replacements on subsequent wheat grain yield and quality. Some preliminary observations from a current USDA-WSARE study on cover crop cocktails will be included.

CEUs:
CCA/CPAg: 0.5 Nutrient Management and 0.5 Soil and Water Management
CPSS/CPSC/CST: 1.0 Professional Meetings

Speaker Information:
Dr. Clain Jones
Montana State University
Extension Soil Fertility Specialist

Dr. Clain Jones has worked in the area of nutrient management at Montana State University since 1999, and has been the Extension Soil Fertility Specialist since 2004. His research has focused on nutrient management in organic and conventional systems, and currently is studying urea volatilization, nitrate leaching, and the effects of mixed cover crops on soil quality. His Extension work has involved developing traditional and innovative methods to deliver nutrient management information, such as a web-based interactive optimum nitrogen rate calculator. Recent publications have focused on methods to decrease urea volatilization and increase wheat grain protein.

Dietrich Kastens
Producer

Dietrich Kastens received an M.A. in Geography from the University of Kansas in 2000, and then moved to NW Kansas to join the family farm.  Dietrich works with his father and uncle in a modern, 100% notill operation growing wheat, corn, milo, peas, and alfalfa. GIS and machine control systems are heavily used on the farm today as well as modern communication tools. Extensive on-farm research trials are conducted annually, along with involved economic analyses of both current operational methods, as well as potential methods.

$25.00 Members/Certified Professionals
$40.00 Non-members

You have 30 days to view this content after purchase.

Self-Paced

CEUs

Nutrient Management   0.5
Soil & Water Management   0.5
Professional Meetings (PM)   1.0

If you are enrolled in this class, please log in to see the class materials.

Class cost: $ 40.00

Add to Cart