Lessons on Cover Crops from the Heart of Dixie

The Southern Cover Crops Conference, held in July in Auburn, Ala., was chock-full of great information related to cover crops.

The decision to use cover crops is like getting married. It takes time, a little money, commitment and a willingness to listen to make it work for the long-term. A grower has to be committed to doing whatever it takes to get covers seeded so they can do their part, according to long-time cover crop grower Myron Johnson of Headland, Ala. It also requires being open-minded and receptive to new ideas, adds Zeb Winslow, a cover crop grower from Scotland Neck, N.C.

Those are just a couple of the many takeaways from the Southern Cover Crops Conference, hosted in Auburn, Ala., by the Southern Cover Crops Council on July 16 and 17. The Southern Cover Crops Conference, held on the Auburn University campus, hosted more than 300 attendees who could select from 10 different workshops throughout the day. Nearly 30 speakers shared information on covers, including academia, experienced cover crop growers, and other agriculture industry professionals. The conference wrapped up with a reception on Tuesday, July 16, and a field day on Wednesday, July 17, at the E. V. Smith Research Center in Shorter, Ala.


No-till cotton in covers. These young cotton plants at the E. V. Smith Research Center in Shorter, Ala., are thriving — thanks to warm season cover crop mixtures. The mixtures included pearl millet, sunn hemp, cowpeas and sunflowers.

Some other highlights from the event:

  • Before you begin using cover crops, have a plan in place that is unique to your operation and your specific objectives…
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Sarah Hill

Associate Editor

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