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YPSILANTI, MI -- Farmers in the western basin of Lake Erie are invited to a Soybean Management and Research Technology (SMaRT)/ Cover Crop field day at the Cherry Hill (Henry) Ford farm.  This event is free of charge and will be held from 10:00am to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13.  The location of the Cherry Hill Farm is at 2734 Gotfredson Road, Ypsilanti, MI.

This particular farm was owned and used by Henry Ford for demonstrating his farm equipment.  He hosted neighbors on Friday nights to a large barn on the property and held square dancing on the second story, parquet floor.

The three soybean SMaRT research projects that will be showcased include; gypsum, field rolling and foliar fungicide and insecticide.  Three cover crop projects planted include; cover crops seeded with a rotary hoe into standing corn, 23 various cover crops seeded for cover or forage, and cover crops seeded with a vertical tillage tool into wheat.   

Cover crops are plants seeded into farm fields, either within or outside of the normal growing season, with the primary purpose of maintaining or improving the quality of the ecosystem.  At this location various grass and legume crops have been seeded in demonstration plots.

A study by the American Society of Agronomy in 2014 found that if farmers can reduce phosphorus runoff by one pound per acre, it will help reduce the amount going into Lake Erie.  One pound per acre is insignificant agronomically, but with 3.7 million acres in Michigan in the Lake Erie watershed, it will help significantly environmentally.

Sponsors of this educational field day include; Monroe and Washtenaw Conservation Districts, Ag Advisory Council, J&R Tractor, Salford Group, MSU Extension, USDA NRCS, Monroe, Washtenaw and Wayne County Farm Bureaus, VanWashenova Farms, Ford Land, Dean Farms Cover Crop Sales & Service and the Michigan soybean checkoff program.

A ribeye steak lunch will be served at noon and two pesticide re-certification credits.  For reservations, contact the Washtenaw Conservation District at 734-761-6721 ext 5. No later than Friday, September 8.  For more information, contact Ned Birkey at 734-260-3442.

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