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Program Objectives


This project will engage agricultural service providers in the Delaware River Basin in a comprehensive education program so they can better meet the needs of crop farmers for no-till and cover crop technical assistance. The education program will address soil preparation for no-till, no-till equipment, and cover crop establishment and termination; agricultural service providers will learn about common implementation-related questions, and problems and subsequent solutions. The project will create detailed, practical recommendations for a comprehensive list of the common no-till or cover crop scenarios using insights from experienced farmers. A project listserv will support participants' continued learning and provide immediate answers to questions, as needed.


The transition to no-till and cover crop farm systems can be difficult and demands farms to acquire a significant amount of knowledge, skill, and equipment to ensure success.  After completing coursework, agricultural technical service providers will be able to answer the most common questions posed by crop farmers adopting no-till and cover crops.  The course will provide participants with the necessary information to be a useful information source to farmers and ultimately, more effectively promote, encourage and facilitate no-till and cover crop implementation.


By the end of the program, participants will have the following knowledge.

  • No-till drill and planter basics;

  • Common drill and planter modifications to row cleaners, closings wheels, and no-till coulters;

  • Common planter problems including irregular seed depth, seeds, and soil surface, open seed slots, compacted soil on top of seems, hairpinning, sidewall compaction, and doubles and triples;

  • Tools to ensure successful cover crop establishment using a variety of methods including aerial seeding, drilling, high crop spreading, and interseeding;

  • Steps to ensure successful cover crop termination using targeted herbicide selection, rates, and timing;

  • Adjusting fertilizers use in fields transitioning to cover crop and no-till planting;

  • Tips and tricks to no-till drill through in heavy crop residues.



Workshop Locations


To reduce participant travel requirements and facilitate higher enrollment, the workshops will be replicated at four
locations throughout the Delaware River Basin.  Exact locations have not been selected however general location are as follows:

  • Northern New Jersey

  • Southern New Jersey

  • Northeast Pennsylvania

  • Southeast Pennsylvania



Program Schedule

To encourage subject mastery, the project will use a three-step approach to education: teach, review, apply. Steps to successful no-till transition will be introduced during a two-hour webinar and reviewed during a one-day field-based workshop. Cover crop implementation will be introduced during a webinar and reviewed during a one-day field-based workshop.  Webinars will use video and images to teach cover crop application methods, rates, species, and termination solutions. Field workshops will be highly interactive; participants will interact with no-till equipment, cover cropping equipment, and cover crop plots and will be challenged to ask questions, interact in discussions.


More Information
Time Commitment
Complete short online application
1 Minute
Complete by July 10th, 2020
Online Pre-Assessment
Short online assessment of their knowledge and learning needs.
10 Minutes
Complete by August 1st, 2020
WEBINAR: Introductory Webinar
Participants will attend a webinar introducing the program, leadership team, performance target verification plan, and begin discussion of impediments to and misconceptions surrounding no-till.
1.5 Hours
August 3rd, 4th, and 5th
WEBINAR: Preparation for No-till
Participants will discuss preparation for no-till, nutrient management in no-till systems, and how to effectively communicate with farmers.
1.5 Hours
August 10th, 11th, or 12th
WEBINAR: Implementation of No-till
Participants will discuss no-till equipment common equipment modifications, basic no-till troubleshooting, and situations where no-till may not be appropriate.
1.5 Hours
August 17th, 18th, or 19th
WEBINAR: Preparation of Cover Crop
Participants will discuss seed purchasing at different scales, how management decision impact seed selection, and tips to reduce cover crops seed costs.
1.5 Hours
August 24th, 25th, or 26th
WEBINAR: Implementation of Cover Crop
Participants will discuss how cover crops for different rotations, nutrient management with cover crops, as well as cover crop application and termination techniques.
1.5 Hours
August 31st, or September 1st or 2nd
Online Post-Assessment
Short online assessment of their knowledge and learning needs.
10 Minutes
Complete by September 15th
Participant will record, quarterly , the impact that knowledge from trainings had on interactions with farmers.
1 Hour
Ongoing 2020 and 2021
Spring Field Day (Optional)
All course participants will be invited to a field day (location TBD) highlighting advance soil health practices including planting green, grazing cover crops, and reducing chemical inputs from cropping systems.
6 Hours
Spring 2021
Award Certificate of Competion
Fall 2021

Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under subaward number PD19-008. 

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