University of Maryland Extension

Caroline Co. Cover Crop Field Day: Delay the burn

Wednesday, May. 10, 2017 - 9:30am to 11:00am
Jim Lewis' Farm
24790 Dukes Rd
Greensboro, MD 21639
United States
Event Type: 

Delay the Burn: See More Cash Crop Benefits by Keeping Your Cover Crops Alive Longer

CREDITS: 2 MD pesticide applicator, private; 2 MD Nutrient Management; 1.5 VA Nutrient Management

Spring Planting Field Demos

9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

May 10

Caroline County, MD

Gary King’s Farm

24790 Dukes Rd, Greensboro
MD 21639



  • FREE
  • Soil health & cover crop latest research
  • Planting demo in high-residue test strip (tentative)
  • Evaluate seed/soil contact, depth, spacing
  • New hands-on field evaluation tool
  • Experts on hand for questions

No farmer wants their cover crops to grow big enough to interfere with their planting operation, but there are some big benefits still to be had from as few as two more weeks of growth past the average burn-down date. These include moisture retention during dry spells, more organic matter, less compaction, more rainwater infiltration, and an increase in the amount of Nitrogen that stays in the soil profile. Most recent model planters can easily handle up to several additional weeks of grass cover crop growth.


  • 9:30 - Welcome, Soil Health Background and Review, Project Overview (Nevin Dawson, University of Maryland Extension)
    • Soil as a living ecosystem: fungi, bacteria, & invertebrates, nutrient cycling, pest/pathogen resistance & resilience
    • Soil structure  for soil health: aggregate stability, organic matter, stormwater infiltration, water & nutrient retention
    • Key management principles: minimize soil disturbance, maximize plant diversity, keep living roots in soil, and keep soil covered
    • Cover crops: season extension, species mix, management tool
  • 10:00 - Field site demo, Planting evaluation (Jim Lewis)
    • Observe planter working in increased cover crop residue
    • Evaluate planting success: seed depth, seed/soil contact, spacing
  • 10:30 - Simplified soil health card field evaluation (Nevin Dawson, University of Maryland Extension)
    • Quick and easy methods for estimating current soil health conditions: shovel for soil structure & invertebrates, pin flag compaction test, color, odor
  • 11:00 - Adjourn


Questions? Contact Project Team Leader:
Nevin Dawson
Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator
Caroline County Office
9194 Legion Road, Suite 4
Denton, MD 21629
Phone: (410) 479-4030, ext. 5

Nevin Dawson
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 
(410) 479-4030, ext. 5
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