A Field Day for Learning About Cover Crops and Beneficial Insects

So you're a rural landowner thinking about planting cover crops in your fields or orchards. And/or, you want to learn more about beneficial insects.

You're in luck.

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is planning a free field trip on "Cover Cropping for Beneficial Insects" from 9 to 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 28 at the Muller Ranch LLC, located at 15810 County Road 95, Woodland. The event is open to the public, but reservations should be made: email Jessa Kay Cruz, Xerces Society's senior pollinator and ag biodiversity specialist at jessa.kay-cruz@xerces.org.

Among those speaking is Yolo County Farm Advisor Rachael Long, an expert on hedgerows and cover crops. See her UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) publication on "Establishing Hedgerows on Farms in California."

Here's the agenda for the field trip:

  • 8:30 to 9 a.m.:  Arrive and Sign-In
  • 9 to 9:20 a.m.: Welcome and Introduction, Project Background
    Jessa Kay Cruz, Senior Pollinator and Ag Biodiversity Specialist, The Xerces Society
  • 9:20 to 9:40 a.m.  Cover Cropping for Soil Health
    Jeff Borum, Soil Health Coordinator
  • 9:40 to 10 a.m. Cover Cropping for Beneficial Insects
    Rachael Long, Farm Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension
  • 10 to 10:30 a.m.: Insect Ecology, Plant Species Selection, Implementation and Management
    Jessa Kay Cruz, Senior Pollinator and Ag Biodiversity Specialist, The Xerces Society
  • 10:30 to 10:50 a.m.: A Farmer's Perspective:  Why Do It and How Well Does it Work?
    Colin Thomas Muller, Muller Ranch LLC
  • 10:50 to 11:10 a.m.:  Accessing Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Cost-Share Programs and Understanding the Planning Process
    Fanny Ye, Soil Conservationist, NRCS, and Corey Shake, Point Blue / NRCS Partner Biologist

Continuing education credits are available.

On the field trip, you're likely to learn about pollinators, predators, pests and parasitoids as well as plants (cover crops). Keep your eyes out for such beneficial insects as lady beetles, aka ladybugs. These predators make short work of aphids, scales and other soft-bodied insects. Keep them close!