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Pros and Cons of Cover Cropping for No-till Vegetable Production

Pros and cons of cover cropping for no-till vegetable production: Making sense of current research and past experiences

May 17, 2018
Clemson Madren Center and the Clemson Organic Farm

No-till vegetable production offers a more sustainable approach to weed management than the frequent use of herbicides and tillage, and also promotes soil health. Because cover crop based no-till vegetable production involves a different approach to management, growers may be reluctant to transition from conventional tillage without seeing the system in action and knowing its costs and benefits compared with conventional tillage. In this workshop we will discuss the pros and cons of cover cropping and no-till with recommendations based on current research and our experiences in the field over the past decade.

8:45 Welcome and Introduction

9:00-9:45 Understanding the influence of cover crops and residue on soil nutrients and vegetable crop fertility (Dr. Bhupinder Farmaha, Asst. Professor and Nutrient Management Specialist, Clemson Edisto Research & Education Center)

10:00-10:45 What we have learned from organic research on cover cropping and no-till in the U.S. (Dr. Mark Schonbeck, Organic Cropping Systems Specialist and Consultant, Floyd, Virginia)


11:15-11:40 Results of research in upstate SC to compare different cover crop species mixtures (Ricardo St Aime, Graduate Student, Clemson Dept. of Plant & Environmental Sciences)

11:45-12:30 Lessons learned in managing cover crops for no-till vegetable production: Four years of no-till research and vegetable production experience at the Clemson Student Organic Farm (Dave Robb, Clemson SOF Manager and Ph.D. candidate)

12:35 Travel by car to nearby Clemson Student Organic Farm

12:50 Lunch, Q&A with instructors and discussion on cover cropping and no-till

2:00 Tour of cover crop plots and no-till vegetable production

3:00-3:30 Adjourn

The cost to participate is Free for SC Extension Agents and Personnel and $15 for all other participants.