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Conference Promotes Cover Crop and No-Till Strategies to Improve Profits

South Burlington--The 2014 No-Till and Cover Crop Symposium, the first conference of its kind in New England, will take place Feb.19-20 in South Burlington.

In addition to presentations by researchers, soil scientists, extension specialists and crop consultants, field crop growers and technical advisors will hear from several farmers about their experiences with no-till farming and cover cropping. The conference, sponsored by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension, will be held at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center, just off I-89 at Exit 14W.

Registration is $130, or $75 for single-day attendance. Conference fees include breakfast, a hot lunch and snacks throughout the symposium.

To register online go to http://go.uvm.edu/4a1y0. The deadline is Feb. 14. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Donna Brown at (802) 388-4969 or (800) 956-1125 (Vermont calls only) by Feb. 3.

Hotel rooms are $89 per night. Reservations should be made directly with the hotel at (802) 865-6600.

The UVM Extension's Champlain Valley Crop, Soil and Pasture Team in Middlebury and the Northwest Crops and Soils Program in St. Albans have invited speakers from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont to address a wide range of topics from the basics of no-till to more advanced discussions on use of GPS and other technologies for successful conservation tillage and growing cover crops.

Day one will focus on no-till farming, kicking off with a talk by UVM Extension agronomists Jeff Carter, Jeff Sanders and Rico Balzano on the nuts and bolts of no-till including their research with manure injection and aeration in no-till systems. Frank Gibbs, a certified soil scientist, crop adviser and fifth-generation farmer from Rawson, Ohio, will describe ways to prevent phosphorus run-off from no-till fields. He also will speak on earthworms and quality no-till soils on the second day of the conference.

Several dairy farmers will share their no-till experiences with participants. Guy Palardy, Alburgh, will discuss how he has successfully used GPS, autosteer and other precision agriculture technology for conservation tillage. Pennsylvania dairy farmer Jim Harbach will talk about no-till and cover cropping on his 2,200-acre dairy farm in Loganton, Penn. He will be joined by Gerard Troisi, a crop advisor and production consultant with Upper Susquehanna Crop Management Associates in Millmont, Penn., who advises central Pennsylvania farmers on no-till crops.

Harbach also will participate on a panel along with Vermont farmers Mike Chaput, North Troy; Shawn Gingue, Fairfax; Scott Magnan, St. Albans and Tony Pouliot, Westford, on how to get started in no-till farming. The farmers who attended the 2014 National No-Tillage Conference in Springfield, Ill., in mid-January will share highlights.

The second day will focus on cover crops. Carter along with UVM Extension agronomists Heather Darby and Kirsten Workman will provide an update on their UVM research on aerial cover crop seeding and Vermont cover crops. Other speakers include Sjoerd Duiker, Pennsylvania State University Extension soil management specialist, on selection of cover crops after corn silage and Harbach and Andre Quintin, a North Hero dairy farmer, on using cover crops as management tools. Harbach, Troisi, Quintin and Ray Brands, a dairy farmer from Ferrisburgh, also will share their insights on cover crops in dairy systems from a producer's perspective.

For more information, call (802) 388-4969 or send an e-mail to champlain.crops@uvm.edu.

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