One of the WI Farmer Led Watershed groups asked Discovery Farms to evaluate a set of cover crop fields as this 2016 fall season came to an end. Among themselves, they are comparing the success of cover crop establishment practices and field conditions to create a local library of “what works and how did you get it to work”. The farmers are all keeping track of cover crop species planted, planting date, seeding rate, seeding method, tillage and manure practices, etc. As the season ended we went to 13 fields and GPS’d a representative spot, measured plant height, measured % ground cover and took a 1 ft soil sample to measure nitrate and ammonium content in the soil. We will do similar observations and measurements next spring just prior to cover crop termination.
The picture shows 2 sites – and 2 pictures for each site taken from 2 ft. off the ground looking down. The first picture is the cover crop, as seen in the field. The second picture is the processed version where green plant material shows up as a white color, and the app identifies % ground cover based on this.
I found this very easy to use and quite useful. Download the Canopeo app and play with it if this sounds interesting.