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Thursday, June 25, 2015
Cover crops are receiving much attention from grain and livestock producers. Cover crops can help reduce soil erosion, increase organic matter, improve early weed control, and provide forage for animals. They can also benefit the public by improving water quality, air quality, and wildlife habitat. However, choosing the correct cover crop can be daunting. There are numerous varieties and knowing which will grow well in you area can be a challenge. Also keep in mind that the same cover crop may not produce the same amount from one year to the next - growing conditions can vary immensely.
There are a couple of websites that you can visit to obtain more information.
The Midwest Cover Crops Council has an excellent website. The website includes state reports and a cover crop selector tool. This is rather helpful as it recommends those crops that should do well in your area.
Secondly is the Cover Crop Chart developed by researchers at Agricultural Research Service's Northern Great Plains Research Lab in Mandan, North Dakota. The chart includes information on crop species that may be planted individually or in mixtures and gives specifics on growth cycle, relative water use, plant architecture, forage quality, pollination, and more. The chart allows growers to see the broad spectrum of potential options that may work best for them. It also includes relevant research at NGPRL, particularly on forage quality, water use, and sequencing of individual crops.