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Cover crop field day planned

John Wilken stands by his field north of Chatsworth in June / CIFN photo.

CHATSWORTH – Cover crop strip trials will be on display during an upcoming field day at Wilken Farms near Chatsworth.

The Vermilion Headwaters field day this Thursday (July 26) is being sponsored by the American Farmland trust, Soil Health Partnership, Livingston County Farm Bureau, USDA-NRCS and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Livingston and Ford counties.

John Wilken has been growing cover crops for a few years and is trying to figure out exactly what works and what doesn’t. His trial field has four strips with a varying seeding rate of cereal rye.

“We killed it and terminated it with herbicide on three different dates then we also tried some soybean inoculant to see if that interacts,” Wilken said.

Wilken has been keeping a close eye on emergence throughout the season and plans a yield test on each strip at harvest. One strip was sprayed after planting, a practice often referred to as “planting green.” Short talks are planned at the field during the event this week.

The tour returns to Wilken Farms for an evening presentation with Dr. Nathan Kleczewski of the U of I who will discuss soybean cyst nematodes and how cover crops impact them. A local farmer panel will talk about the successes and challenges of strip till. The evening concludes with a complimentary supper.

Wilken Farms is located at 35395 E. 1100 North Road near Chatsworth. Registration begins at 3:30 p.m. Thursday with a short presentation by the Farm Bureau starting at 4:00. Participants will load onto hayracks around 4:20 to travel to the field. For more information or to RSVP, contact Becky Taylor at 815-844-6127, extension 3.

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