A Head Start on Next Yield

The biomass or as some refer to it as “green manure” is the nutrients and other bio elements that the cover crop will return to the soil as it begins to break down. You can tell if your cover crop will be replenishing your soil by how much top growth can be seen during the growing season. A great amount of top growth generally indicates a greater amount of “green manure.”

The Need For Cover Crops

  • Keep The Soil Covered
  • Minimize Soil Disturbance
  • Plant Diversity
  • Living Roots As Often As Possible
  • Livestock Integration

Benefits of Cover crops

Weed Control – Cover crops can assist with weed suppression through competition, smothering, or allelopathic effects.

Recycling of Nutrients – Cover crops can scavenge available nutrients, convert the nutrients to biomass, and then when incorporated back into the soil, made available to the following crop. In addition to preventing the loss of nutrients to leaching, cover crops can recapture nutrients from the lower soil profile, and return them to the upper soil profile.

Nitrogen Capture – Legume cover crops, by hosting beneficial rhizobium on their roots can capture atmospheric nitrogen and use the Nitrogen to fuel their own growth. As the legume biomass is returned to the soil, this nitrogen is made available to following crops. Legumes can generate up to 200 lbs of N/acre/year.

Soil Organic Matter – Cover crops can return substantial levels of organic matter to the soil, increasing soil tilth, improving soil aerations, and feeding soil microorganisms.

Soil Compaction – Cover crops roots can reduce soil compaction, either with fibrous roots that fracture the soil in the upper profile, or tap roots that penetrate plow pans and reach into the lower soil profile. The increased soil macro-pores allow rain to penetrate the soil and reduce run-off. The roots of the following crops can follow these soil macro-pores deeper into the soil profile and increase nutrient uptake and drought tolerance.

Soil Erosion – Cover crops can reduce soil erosion caused by wind, water run-off, and raindrop impact.

Nematode Control – Some cover crops can substantially reduce harmful nematodes. One method of control may include natural nematode resistance where nematodes are unable to find a host and die. A few cover crops serve as a nematode trap host, where nematodes are unable to complete their life cycle.
Soil Biodiversity – Cover crops can maintain or increase soil biodiversity, either to complement crop monocultures or provide soil nutrients during fallow periods between crop

Featured Cover Crops Varieties Offered

Below are common options for cover crops. However, we will customize any order for your specific needs.

Sun Hemp – Sun Hemp is used as nitrogen-fixing green manure to improve soil quality, reduce soil erosion, conserve soil moisture, suppress weeds and nematodes, and recycle plant nutrients. It grows quickly and can produce more than 5,000 lb. dry matter/acre and 120 lb. nitrogen/acre in 9–12 weeks

Clover – Clover as a cover crop has several benefits, including contributing up to 120 pounds of soil nitrogen for the following crop rotation. Clover also reduces soil erosion and surface water pollution all while increasing soil organic matter, improving soil tilth and increasing water holding capacities Clover can also greatly reduce grass and broadleaf weed pressure.

Ethiopian Cabbage – Ethiopian Cabbage is a unique plant in that it is a deep-rooted crop like other brassicas (radish, turnip, etc) but it does not break down and decompose quickly like a radish or turnip. Ethiopian cabbage provides a deep root but also a long-lasting residue that offers protection to young crops.

Sorghum-Sudangrass – Sorghum-Sudangrass is midsummer grasses suitable for 8-10 week plantings. They are the most heat and drought-tolerant cover crops. These crops provide abundant root biomass, which is useful for increasing soil organic matter, especially carbon. They suppress root-knot nematodes and inhibit weed germination if densely sown.

Radish – The Radish primary benefit is its ability to perform “bio-tillage.” Its big taproot greatly disturbs soil in the upper eight inches. The radish decomposes quickly in the spring, leaving large holes in the soil. This can be beneficial for no-till growers, or others looking to reduce spring tillage. The taproot may also help with soil compaction.

Turnips and Rape – As fall-seeded Brassicas, turnips and rape are beneficial because they suppress weeds in the following crop. They also decompose quickly after being turned under. Turnip and rape grow quickly and are good at reducing surface compaction while providing winter cover and fall weed suppression. They can also scavenge soil nitrogen that has gone below the crop root zone.

Hairy Vetch  – Hairy vetch fixes large amounts of nitrogen (N) that help meet N needs of the following crop, protects soil from erosion, helps improve soil tilth, and provides weed control during its vigorous growth in the spring.

Safflower – Safflower is a warm season broadleaf, that can be planted very early in the spring and will tolerate sub-freezing temperatures in its rosette stage. It is an annual with an upright growth habit and good salinity tolerance. It is very deep-rooted and effective at mining’ mobile nutrients deep in the soil profile.

Winter Triticale – Winter Triticale is a cross between winter rye and winter wheat known for its nutritional value as a forage crop. Offers good yields and great quality for spring feeding.

Winter Barley – Winter Barley performs better on poorer soils than many other cereal grains and early maturity. It’s forage quality make it a top choice for dairy farmers following corn silage.

Custom Blends Include:

You can choose from our options below, or we can customize a blend for you.

  • Buckwheat, Sunflower, Okra, Flax
  • Cereal Rye, Winter Oats, Spring Oats
  • Sudangrass, Millet – Pearl, german, Browntop, Proso
  • Faba beans, Guar, Hubam Sweet Clover

Spring Fallow Mix

Plant early spring in the fallow ground going to wheat in the fall. This blend creates biodiversity, with both shallow and deep-rooted species and legumes for N fixation. Creates a dense thatch that prevents wind and water erosion, cools soil temps and reduces moisture evaporation from soil surfaces.

Blend may include the following species:

  • Spring Forage Peas
  • Common Vetch
  • Oats
  • Rapeseed
  • Flax
  • Safflower

SPRING GRAZING MIX

Plant early spring for late spring supplemental grazing to be planted to winter wheat in the fall. This blend is ideal from producers looking to graze quickly before summer pastures are ready and still get a benefit of biodiversity, Nitrogen fixation and erosion controls that cover crops offer.

Blends may include the following species:

  • Spring Forage Peas
  • Common Vetch
  • Forage Oats/Barley
  • Rapeseed
  • Forage Collards

SPRING NITROGEN MIX

Plant early spring for nitrogen fixation ahead of late spring planted crop or fall planted wheat. Will not have as much long lasting residue as the Fallow Mix but provides multiple species of legumes to produce organic nitrogen quickly.

Blends may include the following species:

  • Spring Forage Peas
  • Common Vetch
  • Berseem Clover
  • Oats
  • Rapeseed

SUMMER GRAZING MIX

Plant when soil temps hit mid 60’s for excellent summer grazing as well as soil health improvement. This blend provides producers an excellent opportunity for late fall grazing prior to winter pasture. The residue in the spring provides an excellent seedbed for the no-till or strip till producers for spring plantings of row crops.

Blends may include the following species:

  • Cowpeas
  •  Soybeans
  •  CloverSun
  •  Hemp
  • BMR Sorghum Sudan
  •  Pearl Millet
  •  Radish/Turnips
  •  Collards
  •  Annual Ryegrass
  • Oats

SUMMER NITROGEN MIX

Plant when soil temps hit mid 60’s for excellent nitrogen production as well as soil health. This blend of multiple species of legumes is capable of producing nitrogen quickly. The residue is ideal for the no-till producer in the spring to plant in.

Blends may include the following species:

  • Cowpeas
  • Soybeans
  • Sun Hemp
  • Winter Peas
  • BMR Sorghum Sudan
  • Pearl Millet
  • Radish/Turnips
  • Rapeseed/Collards
  • Buckwheat/Vetch