Workshop for crop advisers on soil health

Jake Overgaard University of Minnesota Extension Educator
Farm Forum

University of Minnesota Extension will be hosting a workshop focused on soil health and cover crops for crop advisers and other ag professionals on Feb. 28 at the Heintz Center in Rochester, Minn.

While interest builds around the use of cover crops and other ways to improve soil health, crop advisers can play a key role in providing up-to-date information on their benefits to clients while ensuring their fit with other farm management goals.

In what ways are cover crops actually improving our soils? Ann Journey, soil health coordinator, will share results of on-farm soil testing at 25 farms. She’ll also share some practical ideas of how farmers and crop advisers might assess soil health.

In order to assess their soils, some farmers are using soil health tests. Do they work to determine fertilizer rates in Minnesota? Liz Stahl, UMN Extension educator, will share results of research assessing the use of the Haney test for this purpose.

What do the economics of cover crops look like? UMN Extension Economist Bill Lazarus will share tools for comparing the benefits, costs, and risks of cover crop use. Bill has been working with farmers in southeast Minnesota to analyze the economics of cover crops, he’ll share these results too.

In addition, there may be new crop options in the future that could benefit farmers. Oilseed crops like pennycress and camelina may soon fit into Minnesota crop rotations. Scott Wells, UMN Extension, will share research results and discuss the possibilities of these crops.

This program will be held in room HB117 at the Heintz Center, 1926 Collegeview Drive SE, Rochester, Minn., on Feb. 28. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., program starts at 10 a.m., and will conclude at 2:30 p.m. A $15 fee covers the cost of lunch and materials. CEUs for certified crop advisers have been applied for in the areas of soil and water management, nutrient management, and professional development.

Pre-registration for the workshop is required, visit or call Winona County Extension at 507-457-6440 to sign up.

This workshop is funded by the Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).