Cover Crops Huron Demonstration Farm

Cover Crops Huron Demonstration Farm


The County of Huron makes the Huron Demonstration
Farm available to the Huron Soil and Crop Improvement Association so they can actively
farm and study cover crop plantings there near the Huronview facility. This allows practical application and study
of the soil health and water quality benefits of cover crops. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpC321LCoK4&t=2s Chris Van Esbroeck, of Huron Soil and Crop
Improvement Association (July, 2015): We’re at the Huronview Demonstration Farm
that’s managed by Huron Soil and Crop. What we’re looking at here is our soy bean
crop. If you look a little past the soy bean crop
you’ll see the residue that’s remaining from our cover crop. We sowed a cover crop last fall. Part of the cover crop winter-killed and a
bit of it survived, specificially the cereal rye and the dwarf rape survived and we planted
into that when it was living in the spring and sprayed it off and the residue that remains
is from that cover crop. Earthworms – they’re continually plowing your
soil, they’re incorporating organic matter, they’re improving infiltration, and aeration. Their holes will go two metres down and that
will allow water to quickly infiltrate the soil. Your roots can follow those wormholes. If you’re not tilling them, those holes will
stay there. They don’t get destroyed every year. We planted the cover crop to have continual
residue on the soil surface … living roots … more through the year … to improve soil
health, to improve infiltration into the soil, and reduce erosion. Those are some of the benefits and what they’re
able to do here at the Huronview property. This is basically an earthworm burrow called
a midden. The earthworms cover their hole with a pocket
of residue like that. That’s where they come out to feed. As they come out to feed they’ll pull that
residue further into the soil and incorporate it. Driving around the county you can definitely
see the difference where soil was covered versus where it had just been freshly worked
and rolled. In this particular field we did notice that
the cover crop reduced the erosion quite a bit, maintained the soil where we had left
it. Had we got our cover crop established a bit
earlier last fall, there would probably be even less erosion noticed throughout this
field but definitely there’s a difference when you’re driving around the county seeing
soils covered with soil versus the bare soil. Every little collection of residue that you’re
seeing on the surface, it’s called a midden, and that’s how the earthworms cover their
holes and that’s what they feed on. If you’re looking in your field and you don’t
see any of these little guys, worms have no feed and you don’t have a healthy worm population,
but you can see in our field what we’ve been able to do with this continuous residue cover
is we have a really healthy looking worm population, we have a lot of middens that you can see,
at a quick glance.

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