Choosing the right cover crop to protect the soil

American Society of Agronomy – Farmers around the world are keen to protect their most important asset: their soil. The soil supports and enriches their crops. But the relatively thin layer of topsoil can readily wash away into streams, carrying unwanted nutrients with it. Enter cover crops. Cover crops are inedible plants grown during the […]

Cover crops can benefit hot, dry soils

American Society of Agronomy – The Southern High Plains of the United States have low annual rainfall. When it does rain, though, intense storms can cause severe soil erosion. Strong winds also strip away valuable topsoil. Enter cover crops. Usually grown during seasons when primary crops aren’t cultivated, cover crops can include legumes such as […]

Cover crops, compost and carbon

American Society of Agronomy – Soil organic matter has long been known to benefit farmers. The carbon in this organic matter acts as a food source for soil microbes, which then provide other nutrients to the crops grown. Microbes, insects and small soil critters produce materials that can improve soil structure and water retention. It’s […]

Courting nitrogen in cover crop, sweet potato pairings

American Society of Agronomy – Some relationships can be complicated. Take the one between sweet potato crops and soil nitrogen, for example. Too little nitrogen and sweet potato plants don’t grow well and have low yields. Too much nitrogen, however, boosts the growth of leaves and branches at the expense of storage roots. That also […]

A faba fix for corn’s nitrogen need?

American Society of Agronomy – Researchers have good news for growers. Farmers raising a nitrogen-hungry crop like sweet corn may save up to half of their nitrogen fertilizer cost. The key: using a faba bean cover crop. Faba bean is an ancient crop increasingly used as a cover crop. Cover crops are grown in the […]

Cover crops to mitigate and adapt to climate change

Penn State – Cover crops long have been touted for their ability to reduce erosion, fix atmospheric nitrogen, reduce nitrogen leaching and improve soil health, but they also may play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change on agriculture, according to a Penn State researcher. Climate-change mitigation and adaptation may be additional, […]

Tips for improving organic soils

By Laura Rance OrganicBiz editor Fababeans are gaining ground in both organic and conventional cropping rotations because they are a good source of nitrogen for the soil and less susceptible to diseases that affect some of the other pulse crops. But soil scientist and consultant Jill Clapperton said farmers need to be ready for the […]