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Published August 18, 2014, 10:12 AM

NDSU field days to address salt issues

A Soil Health Field Day will be held Aug. 21 at the historic Bagg Bonanza farm near Mooreton, N.D. Some of the events will be at a nearby North Dakota State University research and demonstration farm.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO — A Soil Health Field Day will be held Aug. 21 at the historic Bagg Bonanza farm near Mooreton, N.D. Some of the events will be at a nearby North Dakota State University research and demonstration farm.

The annual field day is the first of several of its type, sponsored by North Dakota State University’s Soil Health and Land Management team. It will focus on tools that can be used to improve soil health and manage salinity problems using a whole systems approach, promoters say.

“We’re highlighting approaches local producers are currently or anticipating using,” says Abbey Wick, leader for the NDSU soil health group.

Events start at 8 a.m. with registration.

The Mooreton schedule includes:

• 9 to 11:45 a.m. — Using cover crops effectively. Field day participants can learn about how a local farmer is using cover crops to build soil health and improve water management on his fields. Experts will talk about how to set goals and pick crop mixes that will meet the farmer’s individual needs. They’ll also talk about how individual species or cover crops look below-ground in a soil pit that’s been dug for the purpose.

• Noon to 2:30 p.m. — Lunch and demonstrations. Demonstrations include: Keep your soil in place: best management practices for controlling soil erosion; whole system management of pests, including the NDSU Pest Management App. This will be an informal session allowing farmers hands-on and one-on-one time with extension specialists.

• 2:45 to 5 p.m. — Salinity management solutions will be discussed at the NDSU Soil Health and Agriculture Research Extension Farm, often referred to as the SHARE Farm. This is designed to offer farmers the tools they need to actively manage for saline soils, including soil and field testing and water management approaches.

“We’ll use all hands-on demonstrations to walk producers through effective management,” Wick says.

• 5 to 7 p.m. — Supper and demonstrations, repeated from the noon session.

The event is co-sponsored by the North Dakota Corn Council, the North Dakota Soybean Council and the North Dakota Wheat Commission.

Pre-registration is $20 per person and $30 per person the day of the field day. Go to www.ndsu.edu/soilhealth, or contact Niki Lynnes, NDSU Extension office coordinator at 701-231-8881, or at Niki.lynnes@ndsu.edu.

Wick says the field day is part of a series of events on soil health coming to the region.

Similar salinity-related field days and soil pit demonstrations will be held in eastern North Dakota, Wick says.

• Traill County Soil Health, Sept. 3, near Cummings, N.D. Registration 8:15 to 8:50 a.m., followed by speakers and a 12:15 p.m. lunch, and concludes in early afternoon. To find the site, take the Mayville exit off of Interstate 29. Go west less than a half-mile on North Dakota Highway 200. Take the right on gravel and go one mile north and then one mile west.

Experts will talk about measuring salinity, salinity mapping and management. The event is free but pre-registration is requested bySept. 2 by calling 701-636-5665.

•Barnes County’s field day is Sept. 9 on U.S. Highway 1, 6.5 miles south of the Interstate Highway 94 interchange. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Call the Barnes County Soil Conservation District to pre-register by Sept. 5, 701-845-3114, ext. 3.

•Sargent County field day Sept. 17, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., off North Dakota Highway 13 about half-mile east of the of Delamere, N.D., Saline soils will be discussed in the morning and sodic soils in the afternoon. Call Sargent County Extension Service, 701-725-3355, ext. 5, to pre-register by Sept. 16.

A related field day is being scheduled in mid-September in Grand Forks County, but details aren’t final, Wick says.

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