The Benefit of Winter Cover CropsTue, 24 Aug 2021 09:48:43 CDT
The heat of the summer is upon us and you bet it is warm and humid out. Thankfully rain has been pouring and seems to be fighting this drought we tend to always be in. In the heat of the summer the crops are growing and there will soon be matured crops for the hard work you the producer has been putting in. The cold fronts coming through the summers reminds all of us that old man winter is just around the corner. Which means the winter cover crops are needing to be planted within the next two or three months. These will help with organic matter as well as compaction issues. Your local field office can help you choose the best option for winter cover crops to alleviate these common issues.
All cover crops have a few things in common. Cover crops cover the land when not in use or in use and they give back or take up certain excess macronutrient/micronutrient(s). Organic matter and microbiology are the most important resources we have in our lands to make it sustainable and profitable. A list of options for those that want more organic matter in their soils: Field peas, Clovers, Barley, Annual Ryegrass, Cowpeas, Soybeans, and Buckwheat. One of the other major benefits to cover crops is their ability to break up compaction layers. Think of a compaction layer as a concrete slab that is constantly being formed as the land is being used. Roots cannot penetrate the layer and thus end up being limited to nutrients and thus effecting yield and health of the crop. As for options in winter cover crops there are a few you may want to consider: Annual Ryegrass, Daikon Radish and flax. Depending on what your objectives for your property, you may want a crop to survive winter, killed by winter, or killed early by frost. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please donít hesitate to call your local NRCS office and we can provide you the information.
To learn more about cover crops, visit USDA.gov.
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