Cover Crop Concerns
2nd and less considered is the threat of herbicide carryover. Often we worry about carryover from one spring to the next with some persistent herbicides. Consider the fact that your cover crop is being seeded 4-6 months following the application of a residual herbicide versus 11-13 months for corn and soybeans and you can see a real threat to your cover crop. If you add to this concern the lack of rain, which is the primary component to herbicide break-down, you find the perfect storm for the new seeding.
I’ve talked with long time cover crop folks and have come to the opinion that in adverse conditions like these you should make a couple of changes. First, I recommend moving to cereal rye only. This is the flag ship of cover crops for our climate. Second, with the use of cereal rye, this allows later seeding dates and more opportunity to receive rain and diminished herbicide carry. With this opportunity, drilling the seed becomes more important.
After seed emergence, watch for uneven color in the rye or slow growth. This is more easily observed if you look at different fields and compare. If you see this taking place, you may still be o.k. I’ve had this condition and the rye will most likely pop out of it in the spring and do its job.
American Farmland Trust Awards a Grant to the Mercer County SWCD
The District will also conduct a field tour of cover crops for a hands on opportunity to look at the type and characteristics of different species of cover crops. The date of the tour is not yet determined. Information will be forth coming as the fall season develops.
Transect Survey Competed
HEAVY RAINS CAUSE EROSION
Continuous rains have delayed producers from getting in their fields to plant this spring and who knows when the rain will stop. Heavy rains can play havoc on fields by causing ephemeral and gully erosion. Thanks to NRCS and the Soil & Water Conservation District various conservation practices are offered to assist producers in controlling erosion problems. To the left is a picture of a waste block structure north of Aledo, Perryton Township. This NRCS designed block structure and many others throughout the county are doing what they are supposed to do,stabilizing the outlet of a waterway. Please stop by the NRCS/Mercer County Soil & Water Conservation District to find out more about erosion control practices or call (309) 582-5153 extension 3.
Brownlee Cemetery Burn
The Brownlee Cemetery is a dedicated nature preserve owned by the Mercer County Soil & Water Conservation District. The location of the cemetery is Section 31, Suez Township, Mercer County.
It has over fifty identified species of native grasses and wildflowers. It became a dedicated nature preserve under Governor Jim Thompson's administration.
Pictured left is the conclusion of prairie burn conducted on April 3rd, 2013. Volunteers working that day were Dave, Wayne and Bill Duncan; Karl Reynolds; Jason Hessman; Paul Grissom; and Bill Joseph.
Council II Envirothon Competition
Students competed by testing in these areas along with the national topic of Rangeland Management in Montana. Midland High School from Marshall/Putnam won the competition and will compete on the State level in May. The winner of the state competition will travel to Montana for the national competition. The FFA team from Sherrard High School pictured in the photo, won the FFA competition and will compete on the state level FFA competition. Congratulations to all who participated!
FB/SWCD Legislative Luncheon
FB/SWCD LEGISLATIVE LUNCHEON
The Mercer County Soil and Water Conservation District participated in a legislative luncheon with associated Districts and local Farm Bureaus. Pictured is one of the Directors of the Mercer Co. SWCD Gordon Vrana along with Illinois Representative Don Moffitt and State Senator Darrin LaHood. Issues related to agriculture and natural resource protection where discussed. Associate Director John Huffstutler and Sherry also were in attendance.
On February 26th the SWCD held a Contractor's Breakfast at Doug's Town and Country Restaurant. The meal was sponsored by Metal Culverts Inc. Contractor's from Mercer and surrounding counties enjoyed time together and were provide information about State and Federal Programs as well as paperwork requirements.
The District appreciates the hard work and professionalism provided by our local independent contractors. We would be unable to address many conservation efforts without their assistance.