The Lyon County Conservation District recently hosted a workshop to provide area district managers, board supervisors, agency technicians, and partnering agencies the tools in teaching interested producers about soil health and cover crops. The workshop was held on Gail Fuller’s farm located north of Emporia. Fuller, who is an advocate for soil health and sustainable agriculture shared his experiences with the group.
In a “Digging Deeper” session, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Rangeland Management Specialist Alex Miller explained how to use current tools and technology to spread the message of soil health. He demonstrated a bulk density and compaction test using a bag of cereal. He also explained the effects of soil erosion using a rainfall simulator.
NRCS Conservation Agronomist Candy Thomas explained soil organic matter and how it relates to the importance in determining soil health.
A session on “Plant Purpose” focused on soil health and alternative forage options using various cover crop plants. Tom Clayman with Kauffman Seeds identified and discussed with the group numerous cover crop species including alfalfa, barley, black oats, chickpea, common sunflower, crimson clover, hairy vetch, radish, turnip, and triticale.
In the afternoon, participants toured cover crop demonstration plots planted in the spring. These included cool season grazing, warm season grazing, nitrogen building, beginner plots, and pollinator mix.
This workshop was well attended and met with great enthusiasm on soil health!