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Watershed Academy Webcast: Improve Water Quality by Using Cover Crops and Other Conservation Systems

  • Dr. Hans Kok, Coordinator, Indiana Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative
  • Dan Towery, President, Ag Conservation Solutions

Join us for a webcast on using cover crops and other conservation systems to improve water quality in agricultural landscapes. Cover crops are plants used to protect and improve the soil on farm fields, especially at times when cash crops such as corn, wheat and soybeans are not being grown. Cover crops can reduce nutrient losses to watersheds by scavenging nitrates that would otherwise be lost to leaching. In addition, cover crops reduce sediment and phosphorus losses to nearby waterways by acting as a vegetative buffer to slow down surface erosion and increase water infiltration. By using cover crops, farmers can provide environmental benefits while also providing other on-farm benefits, including increased soil health, improved water retention, and increased yield. Cover crops are an important conservation practice that can be used in a system of conservation practices to help improve water quality.

This webcast will introduce nutrient cycling and the importance of soil health in agricultural landscape and discuss how systems of conservation practices such as cover crops can help to improve soil nutrient retention and reduce nutrient losses. The webcast will then discuss common cover crop types and highlight a few cover crops that are being used in the Midwest and why farmers are using these cover crop varieties. This webcast will provide basic information on how cover crops and other conservation systems can be used to provide environmental benefits in watersheds across the US.

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