2022 Eastern Nebraska Soil Health Conference Presentations

  • Nebraska Cover Crop Conference
Eastern Nebraska SOIL HEALTH Conference

2022 Eastern Nebraska Soil Health Conference (formerly Cover Crop Conference)

Recorded Presentations from Feb. 2, 2022 Conference

The 2022 conference was held in person and webcasted from David City, NE.
Recognizing Healthy Soil (Virtual Real-Time Presentation)
Aaron Hird, Nebraska NRCS State Soil Health Specialist  

Understanding the principles of soil health can allow you to Recognize Healthy Soil and provide ways for you to "Unlock" your farm's potential.  Soil health is more than just a buzz word.  This presentation will dig in and help you identify key soil health assessments and lab tests that can help you measure and recognize successful improvements in Soil Health.  Healthy, fully functioning soil provides an environment that sustains and nourishes plants, soil microbes and beneficial insects.  Managing cover crops is one of the most effective ways to impact soil health directly and effectively.  Cover crops and other soil health management practices lead to increased soil resilience which could allow your farm to stay consistently productive now and in the future.  Healthy soil is full of relationships; it is a habitat and has the continued capacity to function. 

Hird has been working with cover crops and soil health for more than 15 years and is excited to be here today to promote the Nebraska NRCS Soil Health Initiative.  This NRCS initiative has established cover crop demonstration field sites across the state and for the last 5 years Hird has provided specialized Soil Health related technical assistance and support to farmers and ranchers.   Hird grew up on a farm and ranch in central Nebraska and through his work now with Nebraska NRCS intends to help Nebraska farmers and ranchers learn and gain experience necessary to improve the health of their soil.

2022 Web Aaron Hird

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When is Manure the Right Solution for a Cropping System? 
(Virtual Real-Time Presentation)

Amy Schmidt, Associate Professor & Livestock Manure Management Engineer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

With all the different soil health and crop fertility tools available in our tool box, when does using manure become a worthwhile tool to consider? Learn what we mean when the UNL Manure Management Team says, “Manure happens. Make the most of it!”

Schmidt is an associate professor at UNL and leads an integrated research and extension program focused on supporting socially and environmentally responsible livestock production to enhance soil, water and air quality.

2022 Web Amy Schmidt

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Cover Crops and Crop Insurance

Cory Walters, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

This presentation will discuss the current cover crop/crop insurance structure and where the policy appears to be headed.

Dr. Walters interests focus on producer decision making in uncertainty.  Within this context he has publications related to the good and not so good of crop insurance.  He just planted the first cover crop this past fall on the farm back in Montana.

2022 Web Cory Walters

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Using Winter Hardy Small Cereals for Grazing and Silage

Mary Drewnoski, Livestock Systems Specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

This presentation will discuss the differences between rye, winter triticale, and winter wheat as well as tips for how to get the most out of these forages.

Drewnoski is a beef cattle nutritionist with expertise in forage based production systems and is a part of an interdisciplinary team evaluating Economical Systems for Integrated Crop and Livestock Production in Nebraska. She has spent the last 8 years researching and providing education on the use of crop residues and cover crop forage for backgrounding calves and feeding beef cows. 

2022 Web Mary Drewnoski

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Making Soil Health Work for Your Operation

Chris Gaesser, Gaesser Farms, Iowa

Gaesser will discuss the different practices he has tried, uses, and how he makes them work for his operation. He will also cover partnering with various groups to try new concepts and develop new practices. And he will present on how he uses creative ideas to make these practices more viable.

Gaesser is a farmer in southwest Iowa between Corning and Creston. He graduated with a degree in Agronomy from Iowa State in 2008 and after working in Agronomy sales for pioneer came back to the farm in late 2009. He farms corn, soybeans, and rye with his wife and parents. Their goal is to be forward thinking with management strategies and try new things when they can. They have been no-till farming for 30 years and doing cover crops for 12 years. They also use tile, terracing, buffers and turn areas.

2022 Web Chris Gaesser

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Strategies to Use Cover Crops for Weed Suppression

Anita Dille, Professor in the Department of Agronomy, Kansas State University

Among the benefits of including cover crops in your crop rotation sequence is weed suppression. Knowing when your key weeds of concern emerge and how they grow provides insights as to when cover crops should be seeded and growing, what crop species should be selected, and when and how to terminate the cover crops. Field experiments from across Kansas show that we can reduce weed density and their size using cover crops as a substitute for one or more weed control practices.

Dille is a Professor in the Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University in Manhattan. She has an active research and teaching program in the subject area of Weed Ecology. Research focuses on understanding the biology and ecology of important and problematic weed species that occur in crop fields across Kansas.  She also explores the effectiveness of integrated weed management strategies, that include no-till practices and crop rotations, use of cover crops, and integrated herbicide programs, on managing these important weed species. Anita grew up on a farm in southern Ontario, Canada, received her PhD degree at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and has been at Kansas State University for 22 years. Anita and her husband, Russell, farm near Olsburg, KS.

2022 Web Anita Dille

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Planting Equipment for Cover Crops and Into Cover Crops

Paul Jasa, Nebraska Extension Engineer

Cover crops are part of a soil health system.  These cover crops are usually no-tilled after harvest and the next cash crop is usually no-tilled into the cover crops.  This presentation will address setting up and operating planting equipment to make no-till successful and explore some other options for seeding  and managing cover crops.

2022 Web Paul Jasa

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Speaker Panel

- informal discussion with growers, landowners, and consultants

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Gary Lesoing, 402-274-4755,

Melissa Bartels, 402-367-7410,

Michael Sindelar, 402-762-3644, msindelar2@unl.edu

Todd Whitney, 308-995-4222, twhitney3@unl.edu

Nathan Mueller, 402-821-2151,

Nebraska Cover Crop & Soil Health Conference Sponsors