SCOTT TWP. — Four Lackawanna County farms participated in the Lackawanna County Conservation District’s Interseeder Demonstration Day, held June 29: Jack Sarnoski, of Sarnoski Hill Farm, North Abington Township; Jeff Nogan, of Applewood Farm, Scott Township; John Howanitz, of Howanitz Farm, Scott Township and David and Douglas Johnson, of Amasa Hill Farm, Benton Township.
Chris Houser and Greg Roth, from Penn State University and Interseeder Technologies brought the Interseeder to the County as a part of a four County effort to educate the farming community on the benefits of starting cover crops early.
Planting cover crops early in the season allows for a fully covered field in the fall and spring, preventing soil erosion and nutrient runoff. Other benefits include: enhancing soil nutrients, suppressing weeds, increasing corn yield from rotation effect, and reducing costs.
Originally developed by Penn State University, the Interseeder is a piece of No-Till Equipment that allows farmers to plant cover crops in early summer during the growing season. This is achieved by the Interseeder going between standing rows of corn or other row crops to drill seed into the rows. It is suggested that the corn be in at least “V4” stage, meaning four full leaves and leaf collars have developed, but no higher than “V7.” Corn in this range will be ankle to knee high, with the highest success rate at “V5” or roughly eight inches high.
Similar demonstrations were held in Monroe, Susquehanna and Wayne counties covering a total of 14 farms in the northeast region. At each location, four different cover crop/cover crop mixes were used, each covering roughly a quarter acre. The cover crops were Annual Ryegrass, Crimson Clover, Ryegrass/Crimson Clover Mix, and T.A. Seeds Indy Mix (Ryegrass, Crimson Clover, and Tillage Radish). These varieties were picked for their exceptional ability to prevent erosion and scavenge nutrients.
Progress of these crops will be documented throughout the summer. The findings from the demonstration will be presented in October at a series of workshops, to which the community will be invited and the date of which is to be announced.
The project was a part of Lackawanna, Monroe, Susquehanna, and Wayne counties non-point source pollution grant.