Train the Trainer
NO-TILL & COVER CROP IMPLEMENTATION
An education program for all agricultural service providers
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 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.
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
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 (Spring 2020) and reviewed during a one-day field-based workshop (Spring 2020). Cover crop implementation will be introduced during a webinar (Fall 2020) and reviewed during a one-day field-based workshop (Fall 2020). 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.
Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under subaward number PD19-008.