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Published August 14, 2010, 12:00 AM

Tillage radish, alfalfa mulch topics of Aug. 23 field day near Madison

MADISON — A field day near Madison will focus on cover crops and using alfalfa mulch for nitrogen credit before corn. Start time is 1 p.m. for the Aug. 23 field day, “Cover Crops and Alfalfa Mulch,” organized by the nonprofit Rural Advantage and University of Minnesota Extension.

By: Tribune News, West Central Tribune

MADISON — A field day near Madison will focus on cover crops and using alfalfa mulch for nitrogen credit before corn. Start time is 1 p.m. for the Aug. 23 field day, “Cover Crops and Alfalfa Mulch,” organized by the nonprofit Rural Advantage and University of Minnesota Extension.

Crops need soils with adequate nutrients, especially nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Organic producer Carmen Fernholz is attempting to achieve that without chemicals.

With funding from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and consultants from the University of Minnesota, Fernholz will be starting his own on-farm research. He will be looking at obtaining enough nitrogen from alfalfa mulch and tillage radish to grow a healthy, high yielding corn crop next spring.

Attendees will hear an explanation of Fernholz’s alfalfa mulch research and will learn about utilizing cover crops on their agriculture acres whether those acres are organic or conventional. Special attention will be paid to the tillage radish.

Fernholz has used cover crops for many years and is a cooperator on a cover crop project through Rural Advantage.

Jill Sackett, extension educator and conservation agronomist, will also explain to attendees the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education cover crop project of which Fernholz is a part, as well as the cost-share dollars available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture program.

A tour of the mulching process and the fields will also be included. Attendees will be able to view the alfalfa processor as well as a coulter cart for grain drills that Fernholz is using to get a similar result as a no-till drill, but without the cost.

This outdoor event will be held rain or shine at 2484 Hwy. 40, Madison. From Madison, travel east on Highway 40 for 1 mile to an A-frame house on the north (left) side of the road.

Contact Sackett for more, 507-238-5449 or sacke032@umn.edu

— Staff reports

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