October 11, 2010
Contacts: Amy Ivy, Cornell Cooperative Extension, 518-561-7450; Dr.
Thomas Bjorkman, Cornell University, 315-787-2218
“The Hot Topic” Field Days Set for Nov. 8-10 for
Northern NY Vegetable Growers
“Using cover crops is THE hot topic for Northern New York vegetable
growers this fall,” says Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Clinton
County Executive Director and Horticulture Educator Amy Ivy.
Ivy has helped organize three field day opportunities for November 8-10
to offer regional vegetable growers the opportunity to learn the latest
practice for improving soil health, reducing soil disease, recovering
nitrogen and reducing nitrogen purchasing.
Cornell University Associate Professor of Vegetable Crop Physiology
Thomas Bjorkman will present information on research evaluating the use
of cover crops in the cabbage family, including five types of mustards,
tillage radishes, forage turnips and rapeseed. Two late season plantings
of the crops have been established at three sites in Northern NY.
Bjorkman says, “These crops are inexpensive to try and have the
potential to return big in terms of soil health, which, in turn, impacts
crop quality and yield. I am keen on seeing how we can fine tune what we
know from trials with these cool-season cover crops in Western New York
and the Great Lakes region to fit the cooler, shorter growing season of
Northern New York.”
Participants in the 1-3pm programs on:
• Monday, November 8 at the Cornell University EV Baker Agricultural
Research Farm in Willsboro;
• Tuesday, November 9 at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of St.
Lawrence County Extension Learning Farm in Canton; and
• Wednesday, November 10 at the Juczak Farm in the Woodhenge Sustainable
Living Community in Adams Center,
will discuss the latest data on the benefits, drawbacks, and optimal
timing and management of each cover crop. The growers will tour the
local field trial, and receive free seed samples, fact sheets, and a
copy of the new “Crop Rotation on Organic Farms Planning Manual.”
Using fall-planted brassicas (mustard varieties) as cover crops is a
relatively new practice for vegetable growers in the Northeast. The
crops will have special value to organic growers.
“These cover crops grow well in the fall after the farmers have pulled
their last cash crop. They are effective at suppressing a number of soil
diseases and are an especially good complement for tomatoes and
peppers,” Bjorkman says.
Vegetables need a good supply of nitrogen right up to harvesting and the
cover crops under evaluation on the Northern New York are known to be
very good for recovering nitrogen left behind after harvest, going as
deep as six feet.
“Some farmers have been able to recover as much as 100 lbs. of nitrogen
per acre with the right late season planting practices. That’s a lot of
nitrogen, so even if we can recover a part of that that can translate to
cost savings for Northern New York growers and it’s worth trying,”
The $15 field day program cost includes the new cover crop planning
manual, fact sheets series, 4 lbs of seed, and refreshment.
Growers can register for the November 8 program in Willsboro with Amy
Ivy, CCE Clinton County, 315-561-7450; for the November 9 program in
Canton with Stephen Canner, CCE St. Lawrence County, 315-379-9192; and
for the November 10 program in Adams Center with Roz Cook, CCE Jefferson
County, 315-788-8450. The Towards Sustainability Foundation in Ithaca,
NY, has provided project funding.
Learn more about horticultural crop production in Northern New York and
link to the New York cover crop decision-making covercrop.net resource
tool at www.nnyagdev.org. #