What is a Cover Crop?
It’s any crop grown for the protection and enrichment of the soil. Cover crops are one of the most effective ways to improve soil health, reduce outside inputs, and protect natural resources.
Why use a Cover Crop?
Leaves soften/slow rainfall while robust root systems hang on to soil.
Plants take up unused nitrogen/nutrients storing them for next season’s crops.
Improve water quality
Sediment and nutrients are held by the cover crop, preventing them from leaching into surface and ground water.
Rapidly establishing cover crops smother weeds before they have a chance to grow.
Increase organic matter
Once turned into the soil, plant parts decompose at different rates to provide continuous supply.
Control soil pests & disease
Some cover crops provide a natural fungicide-type effect on pathogens, while others enhance beneficial soil biology.
Break up heavy soils
Daikon radish and others with large root systems can help break up hardpan and lighten heavy clay soils.
Using legumes like crimson clover and field peas increase available nitrogen for the next crop.
Over time, the use of cover crops can help reduce the need for fertilizer while helping increase yields.