It's Cover Crop Week!
We're celebrating cover crops -- a conservation practice that provides a variety of benefits, including increased soil health and protection, weed and disease suppression, and much more. We'd love to see and share your photos and stories. Please use #FarmersCoverIowa to join the conversation throughout this week and beyond!
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Did you know?
Cover crops reduce soil erosion by improving soil structure and permeability in addition to providing ground cover as a physical barrier between raindrops and the soil surface. They also scavenge residual nitrogen left in the soil profile. Cover crops can be seeded in the fall using a variety of methods including drilling after crop harvest, broadcasting after crop harvest, or aerially broadcasting before harvest.
The research summary indicated an average 31% reduction in nitrate (N) concentration with use of a rye cover crop and a 28% reduction with an oat cover crop. Planting a late summer or early fall seeded cover crop can reduce phosphate (P) loss by about 29%.
Want to learn more? Check out these resources:
Practical Farmers of Iowa
Iowa State University Extension
Iowa USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Midwest Cover Crops Council
Cover Crop Decision Tools
Iowa Learning Farms
Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service