Twilight Meeting: Getting Even More Out of Your Cover Crops

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Farm Stand at the Grafton County Farm
3855 Dartmouth College Highway
North Haverhill, NH 03774
United States


Cost:  Free

Registration: Not Required

The Grafton County Farm has teamed up with UNH Extension and the Grafton County Conservation District to install a cover crop demonstration in the vegetable field behind the County's farm stand on Route 10 in North Haverhill.  The demonstration plot includes a mix of cover crops suitable for vegetable and dairy systems.  This twilight meeting will include an open discussion about the benefits of cover crops, as well as the very real challenges of growing them.

For more information, contact Heather Bryant, Field Specialist, Food and Agriculture, 603-787-6944, Heather.Bryant@unh.edu.

 


Background Information

What are cover crops?

Cover crops can be any crop you grow between cash crops for the benefits to your soil and subsequent crops.  There are many additional benefits, depending on the variety you plant and how you use them, including preventing erosion, fixing and scavenging nitrogen,  breaking up soil compaction, improving soil structure, adding organic matter, suppressing weeds, sinking carbon, providing pollinator habitat, and providing forage for livestock.

What is planted in the demonstration plot at the County Farm?

The bulk of the field was planted to sorghum, sorghum-sudangrass or “sudex” and cow peas.  The sorghum and sudex are fast growing grasses that can be planted in June or July.  They can be used for haylage or grazing and are a good option for a summer cover crop in an establishment year before planting fruit crops like blueberries or when you have a field that will be fallow for a season, and you want to keep it covered. 

There are also small plots of eleven different cover crops, so farmers can review them during the twilight meeting including: 

  • Sweet Yellow Clover
  • Crimson Clover
  • Phacelia
  • Radish
  • Teff
  • Barley
  • Sunn Hemp
  • Japanese Millet
  • Oats and Peas
  • Sorghum
  • Sunflower
Cover crops being mowed in a field
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