Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest This week, area agriculturalists met at the St. Mary’s Township House and discuss cover crops after winter to prepare for spring planting season. Extension agents from Shelby, Auglaize and Mercer Counties, along with VanTilburg Farms, Inc. were represented at the meeting to discuss varieties of cover crop seeds to plant, the mixes, when they grow and what to do now after winter to prepare for spring planting season.Matt VanTilburg with VanTilburg Farms, Inc. discussed a wide variety of cover crops, including management during the spring, preparing for planting the crops, and year-round tips for effective cover crop usage. Pictures were displayed of the cover crops planted at the Brown farm last fall in 2014 and their progress that very day, based on how they withstood the winter. John Smith, retired Auglaize County Extension agent also made an appearance as he assisted with the previous cover crop field day last fall, when they were planted and discussed, prior to his retirement.Sessions were held at 2:30, 4:30 and 6:30, with the greatest attendance session starting at 2:30. The township house was so crowded with such a vast turnout of area farmers, the air conditioner had to be used even with the chilly weather outside. Denny Riethman with Mercer County and Jeff Stachler, the new Extension Agent for Auglaize County, also aided and answered questions throughout the day.Cover crop termination was a major focal with preparing for spring planting season. Many varieties like oats, radishes and buckwheat will be killed naturally by the weather (called winter-kill). While some other varieties are a bit more persistent like cereal rye or annual grass, which need to be terminated with tillage practices, a roller crimper or herbicides. Timing is also an important factor to be considered when deciding the next crop to plant and all determinations are factored into the year-round process of what to plant and when.Cover crops along with the different mixes are an immense asset as they increase the water infiltration rate, biologic activity, water holding capacity and also decreasing erosion and run-off. Implementing them with your standard crops will help to increase production while also utilizing conservation practices. Handouts from the session cover more information, while also providing input on a variety of cover crop tips. To learn more, contact local Extension offices or VanTilburg Farms, Inc.