Southern Cover Crops Council (SCCC)
Cover Crop Needs Assessment (2016-2017)
Southern Region Assessment of Research Priorities:
- A team consisting of at least one representative from each state and territory in the Southern region conducted a region-wide assessment of research priorities as part of a SSARE planning grant.
- 56 individuals from 11 states and 2 territories responded and identified 188 topics.
- The study team then categorized them by topic and sub-topic.
- This effort was led by Dr. Lee Meyer (University of Kentucky) with assistance from Dr. Carlene Chase (University of Florida).
Southern Cover Crops Conference Evaluation:
- We conducted a systematic evaluation of all sessions and field demonstrations at the 2016 Southern Cover Crops Conference (SCCC) also funded through the SSARE planning grant.
- The evaluation included the identification of research and outreach needs by participants at the conference.
- This effort was led by Dr. Lee Meyer (University of Kentucky) and Dr. Carlene Chase, Dr. Mickie Swisher, and Kaylene Sattanno (University of Florida).
Cover Crop Research Needs and Priorities in Florida:
- Faculty members at the University of Florida conducted a statewide survey of stakeholders in Florida to deepen their understanding of the barriers, opportunities, and needs of producers in the sub-tropical coastal plain sub-region of the South where cropping systems, climate, and soils differ from those of the other sub-regions.
- This effort was led by Dr. Mickie Swisher and Kaylene Sattanno at the University of Florida.
- The SCCC established a strategy team responsible for identifying the research priorities to address through region-wide research and establishing the goals and objectives for a multi-state research (Hatch) proposal.
- Drs. Mickie Swisher and Carlene Chase led the team that conducted an expert elicitation of critical objectives with 23 members of the SCCC whom participated via e-mail or teleconference in this process.
Cover Crop Priorities for Florida
Florida assessment focused on three major questions:
- What are the major barriers to adoption of cover crops by people who currently do not use cover crops?
- What are the major challenges in using cover crops among farmers who do currently use cover crops?
- What kinds of research are needed to address the barriers and challenges identified?
Five major priorities emerged:
- Pest management
- Benefits of cover crops on soil health and biology, both over the short and long term
- Nutrient budgets and economics of cover crop use
- Managing cover crop establishment, termination and residues
- Breeding and selection of both cover crop varieties and mixtures of cover crops
- A large number of respondents also noted that the research should have an integrated approach that employs both on-station and on-farm trials.