Cover crops are growing in prominence as a way for farmers to harness regenerative agriculture practices to improve soil health, reduce erosion, minimize weed pressure, and more. An increasing number of conventional, no-till, strip-till and organic growers are seeking more information about how cover crops can enhance what they are currently doing in their operations.

As a result, the editors of Cover Crop Strategies are pleased to present the 2021 National Cover Crop Summit on March 17-18. The 2021 National Cover Crop Summit builds on three previous virtual events with a cover crop focus. Last year’s event shared information with nearly 2,500 attendees from more than 40 countries. This free, two-day virtual event is the third annual National Cover Crop Summit, and promises to be the best one yet, with an outstanding speaker line up and intriguing topics.

The 12 speakers for the 2021 National Cover Crop Summit include:

Gared Shaffer, Weed Field Specialist, South Dakota State UniversityPreventing Herbicide Residual Effects on Cover Crops. Shaffer’s will help producers understand the complexities and benefits of integrating cover crops into their crop rotation, while addressing how herbicides affect cover crop establishment.

Daniel Olson, Grower, Lena, Wis.Breaking Pest Cycles with Full Season Cover Crops. Olson discusses how he chooses cover crop cocktail mixes for his 1,200-acre dairy, where he milks 400 cows with his family. He also shares how full-season annual cover crops break the rootworm cycle in his corn crop and how his operation utilizes cover crops as forage for dairy cattle.

Kip Balkcom, Research Agronomist, USDA-Agricultural Research ServiceMaximizing the Potential Soil Health Benefits of Cover Crops. High residue cover crops combined with conservation tillage can reverse unfavorable soil conditions, such as soil compaction, which ultimately improves the productivity of irrigated and rainfed cropping systems. Balkcom will help attendees understand how management factors can affect cover crop performance.

Joel Gruver, Associate Professor of Soil Science & Sustainable Ag, Western Illinois UniversityOptimizing Cover Crops with Solar Corridors. Gruver will discuss how solar corridor planting systems create new opportunities for successfully intercropping cover crops with corn on conventional and organic farms. His presentation will explore how strategic adjustment of crop spacing, both in-row and between rows, and complementary practices like banding of nitrogen, can greatly increase cover crop productivity while minimizing loss of crop productivity.

Robb Ewoldt, Grower, Davenport, IowaPreserving Water & Soil Quality Using Cover Crops. Ewoldt discusses how he has utilized a decade of cover crops to reduce his use of crop protection products and improve water quality on his 1,100-acre farm, including the installation of the first bioreactor (underground water infiltration system) in eastern Iowa. He uses no-till, strip-till and cover crops to control erosion on their operation, which includes beef cattle, horses and a 2,400-head wean-barn where they feed pigs for Eichelberger Farms.

Jimmy Emmons, Grower, Leedey, Okla.The Economics of Utilizing Cover Crops in a Dryland Environment. The third-generation grower shares how cover crops are an integral part of his rotational grazing program for his cow/calf operation while leveraging covers to help retain moisture in the dry environment of Oklahoma. Emmons will share how cover crops have paid off economically for his 2,000-acre operation, which includes a rotation of wheat, canola, rye, sunflowers, peas, soybeans, milo, sesame and alfalfa.

Bill Buessing, Grower, Axtell, Kan.Maximize Livestock Feed Resources with Cover Crops: Tips From a Cover Crop Addict. A no-tiller and self-described “cover crop addict,” Buessing discusses how he adds various cover crop species to crop rotations as forages for his cattle and sheep to graze while building soil health and fixing valuable nutrients in the soil, which has allowed him to cut back on fertilizer. He maintains a cash crop or cover crop mix on every acre of his farm year-round.

Dave Montgomery, Author/Professor of Earth & Space Sciences, University of WashingtonThree Steps to a Growing Revolution: Where Do Cover Crops Fit?  The author of 5 books on soil health discusses how cover crops can be part of the soil health revolution while helping reduce soil degradation. Montgomery also shares his observations on cover cropping around the globe.

John Macauley, Grower, Groveland, N.Y.Successful Integration of Multispecies Cover Crops & Livestock. The cattleman details how he’s saved on fuel and labor costs by parking the plow and implementing cover crops on his 1,100-acre operation with a corn, soybean, wheat and hay crop rotation. Macauley also shares how cover crops have helped fix nitrogen in his soil and his successes with roller crimping covers as a termination method.

Trey Hill, Grower, Rock Hall, Md.A Balancing Act: Carbon to Nitrogen Ratios with Cover Crops. Hill digs into how he uses cover crops to balance organic matter production and nutrient availability and the tools he uses to diagnose and correct nitrogen management on his 10,000-acre farm that is 100% cover cropped.

Ray McCormick, Grower, Vincennes, Ind.Using Cover Crops to Build Your Most Valuable Asset. The fourth generation no-tiller shares how he sets up equipment and seeds his cover crops on his 2,000-acre farm where he raises corn, soybeans, wheat, peaches and beef cattle with his son, Nate. McCormick will share how he manages residue for maximum cover crop emergence, how he tackles challenges with terminating cover crops in the spring and how he has built up the water holding capacity of his soil.

Daryl Obermeyer, Brownville, Neb.Cover Crops & Cows: A Common Sense Approach. Obermeyer will discuss how he leverages cover crops to save time, fuel, fertilizer and water on his dryland farm. He has used aerial-seeded cover crops to help curb erosion in the loamy soil on his farm, with nearly 35 years of experience with covers.

To provide attendees with an educational experience to fit their specific needs and schedule, there are two registration options for this event:

  • Register for free and gain access to the National Cover Crop Summit presentations for 2 days only, March 17-18.
  • A VIP upgrade is available for $49 and gives attendees 12 months of access to all event presentations, access to top rated sessions from past National Cover Crop Summits, plus a package of valuable attendee bonuses including 4 Cover Crop Management reports offering practical tips and ideas on a variety of critical cover crop topics. 

Title sponsors making the National Cover Crop Summit possible include Montag Mfg., Yetter Farm Equipment, KB Seed Solutions, Kelly Tillage System, MidWest Bio-Tech, and Underground Agriculture.