What are Cover Crops?

Cover crops are grasses, legumes, and other forbs that are planted for the protection and enrichment of the soil

Benefits of Cover Crops
  • Reduce Soil Erosion

  • Build Soil Tilth & Imorve Soil Health

  • Increase Soil Porosity & Infiltration

  • Reduce Pests

  • Improve Soil Microbiology

  • Produce/Scavenge Crop Nutrients

 

  • Reduce Soil Compaction

  • Increase Nutrient Recycling

  • Forage Source

  • Help Winter Annual Weed Control 

  • Improve Yeild Potential Overtime

What types of cover crops should I use?

There are many varieties of cover crops and selection depends on when the species can be planted and what is the goal for its use. Legume species fix atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants and microorganisms can use. Nonlegume species recycle existing soil nitrogen and other nutrients and can reduce leaching losses. A combination of two or more types of cover crops might be beneficial for establishment and improved nutrient utilization. Visit OSU's summarazation of NRCS's 340 standard for more information.

Establishment

Cover crops can be seeded with drills, broadcast equipment, or aerially applied. Cover crops are ideal for planting after early harvest crops likewheat, sweet corn, seed corn and silage corn 

 

  • Plan in accordance with the next cash crop

  • Nonirrigated crop termination within 5 days after planting but prior to crop emergance

 

Resources