Field Day with Jordan Hoewischer: Dr. Kevin King, USDA Agricultural Research Service

In the latest episode of Field Day with Jordan Hoewischer, Ohio Farm Bureau’s Director of Water Quality and Research talks with Dr. Kevin King from USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Hoewischer and his guest discuss King’s edge-of-field monitoring program which serves as the backbone of scientific information for most nutrient and soil management decisions in the Midwest.

Field Day with Jordan Hoewischer is an ongoing series of conversations with experts and leaders who are helping to shape and secure the future of Ohio’s ag industry for generations to come.

Following are some highlights from this episode. Complete transcript.

Q: What’s happening on farm fields? (The research) is kind of the missing link between how decisions are being made from a number of different facets. So how is that information used? What’s the end game with all this information?

A: Our ultimate goal when we first started this was to identify practices that offer an ability to reduce nutrient loading to surface water bodies or polluted water bodies. So that was the primary goal and I think that still is the primary goal.

Q: What has been the general results of cover crops on some of the fields that you’ve been looking at?

A: When we look at cover crops, we see the nitrogen losses coming out of the tile that drains the nitrate, nitrogen is significantly reduced. With phosphorus, we don’t see any benefit whatsoever immediately. Now where I think we do get some benefit which is secondary, would be with the increase in water storage capacity. So it’s not a direct uptake by the plant itself, but secondarily we’re not losing as much water and therefore not as many nutrients.

Q: What’s the easiest thing a farmer can change to reduce nutrients coming off their farm?

A: Soil testing. I would highly encourage producers to sample at least on a five-acre type of grid and apply accordingly. It’s one thing to take the soil sample; it’s another to look at that soil sample and base your application on that soil sample.

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