Why Cover Crops?

Welcome to Plant Cover Crops.

This site is dedicated to learning about the value that cover crops bring to production agriculture. Check out the category listings to the right to scan for topics of interest.

Crimson Clover in the spring that was planted after corn silage.  Crimson Clover has been tested and proven to produce over 140#/acre of nitrogen.

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So what about cover crops?

Farmers often ask me “why” they should consider planting cover crops after harvest. I have listed a number of reasons below.

Cover crops:

  • Improve soil health
  • Improve yield potential over time
  • Improve weed control of winter annuals
  • Reduce erosion
  • Increase earthworm populations
  • Improve soil microbiology
  • Build Soil Organic Matter
  • Produce and scavenge nutrients
  • Help you with manure management
  • Provide excellent grazing opportunities

Cover crop roots, along with the additional earthworms:

    • Increase soil organic matter
    • Increase soil porosity
    • Increase soil aeration
    • Increase “channels” for future row crop roots to follow
    • Reduce compaction
    • Increase nutrient recycling

 

Digging up roots in soil pits is a great hobby to have. You will be amazed how cover crop roots will often go through a “plow pan” when corn and soybeans might not. It has been quite common to find roots 30-40+ inches deep in fields with cover crops.

Farmers are finding excellent emergence and performance on their cash crops following cover crops.

Cover Crops can provide excellent winter feed for cattle.

Crimson Clover is a very good choice to build soil and produce nitrogen. Earthworms seem to love crimson clover roots.