Cover Crop Establishment Field Day May 14 on Byron Area Farms

BYRON, Minn. — How did various cover crop seeding methods fare over the winter in southeastern Minnesota? That question will be discussed Friday, May 14, on several Byron-area farms. This free field day will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the farms of Rick Lutzi, Kevin Connelly, Martin Larsen and Tom Pyfferoen. The farmers will evaluate the previous year’s cover crop planting methods such as aerial seeding, broadcasting and drilling. The day will begin at the Lutzi farm (6235 20th St. SW, Rochester, MN 55920) and will continue by car caravan to the other farm sites. Registration begins at 9:45 am and there will be a pizza lunch at noon. If there is a rain-day, the tour will be moved to May 14. Please RSVP for the field day by contacting either Tom Pyfferoen at 507-254-9490 or Shona Snater at 507-523-3366 or ssnater@landstewardshipproject.org.

DIRECTIONS: Head four miles west on U.S. 14 from Rochester, turn south onto 60th Ave. NW (County Rd. 104). After about three miles, turn west onto 20th St. SW and drive for 1/3 mile. The destination will be on your right and marked with field day signs.

Field day discussions will include the effectiveness of different cover crop establishment practices, the feed quality of cereal rye, the next steps for planting cash crops into a living cover crop and the benefits of cover crops on soil health.

Lutzi raises beef, grain and cover crops. During the field day, he will discuss his drilled cereal rye plantings and use a soil-root pit to show how the plants penetrate the soil. Connelly raises dairy cows, beef cattle, row crops, small grains, forages and cover crops, and will share his experience with establishing cereal rye after corn silage, the benefits he has seen with erosion control and the feed quality of the rye. Martin Larsen, who is a no-till farmer and works for the Olmsted County Soil and Water Conservation District, will be sharing his experience with interseeding annual rye grass into v6 corn using a highboy fertilizer spreader to broadcast both his seed and fertilizer at once. Lastly, Pyfferoen, a no-till corn and soybean farmer, will discuss the effectiveness of aerially seeding cereal rye into standing corn compared to drilled rye after harvest. He will also describe his plans for planting corn into the green cereal rye this spring.

“This is a good time for farmers to get out and evaluate their cover cropping methods,” said Pyfferoen. “It is important to be learning from one another and sharing ideas.”

The field day is a collaboration involving area farmers, the Land Stewardship Project, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD).

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