The Crop Pros learn about Cover Crops
By: Elliott Vince
On Saturday, May 20th, 2017 at 9:00 AM, the Merlin 4H Crop Pros had their third meeting of the year at Blake Vince’s farm. Mr. Vince led the tour.
We started off by Mr. Vince telling us about his focus as it pertains to farming. He said that he uses cover crops to protect the soil and that when the cover crops die, they release nitrogen on to the field, allowing him not to buy as much nitrogen fertilizer making the cost cheaper. Some more benefits of cover crops are to reduce soil erosion and help water filter through the soil.
Then, we walked out to the field. He explained that even though he plants 18 species of Cover Crops, there were only 7 that survived the winter. He had us observe and name the living cover crops. Most kids named kale and crimson clover.
After that, Mr. Vince dug up a soil sample from the field and let everyone see it and feel it. He told us about how to check soil for earthworms. The more earthworms you find, the more biologically active your soil is.
He then explained to us the “Soil your undies” project. The project consists of burying a pair of men’s white cotton underwear. He uses white cotton for the project because there is less dye used so it won’t harm the organisms as much. He gave us a demonstration of how to plant the underwear in the field, only leaving the elastic above the ground. Everyone received a pair of underwear to try this at home.
After that, he showed us the planter he uses to plant his crops. He explained the many functions of the planter and then the Crop Pros had their meeting. They discussed about useful cover crops. Following that, they judged tomatoes for best slicing for a sandwich. They then went over the results of the special neonic bait project- a wireworm trap.
The wireworm trap consists of rolling a ball of rolled oats combined with water. Many of the members did not have wireworms in their field. If you didn’t know, wireworms eat the seeds that are planted, so the more members without wireworms, the better. The secretary reviewed the minutes of the last meeting then the meeting was then adjourned.