About 30 farmers and visitors gathered on the evening of June 18 at the Cornell University Musgrave Research Farm to learn about organic reduced tillage soybeans.
An evening tour proved a feasible time-slot for farmers busy with summer field work, and farmers engaged researchers with many thoughtful questions. A demonstration featured the roller-crimper mounted on the front of a tractor pulling a soybean planter; in one pass the small grains cover crops were rolled and soybeans planted.
The topics of the tour included the economics of the organic roll-down soybean system, weed management issues, and technical information like planting times and rates.
Responses after the tour indicated that 50% of farmers who filled out the feedback sheet (n=14) were “likely” or “highly likely” to try the roll-down organic soybean system. Farmers believed the greatest barriers to implementing the system were sourcing the correct equipment and correctly timing the cover crop planting and roll-down. Farmers stated the greatest benefits were reduction of tractor passes and erosion, the higher premium offered for organic soybeans, and improving soil structure and health.