Cover Crops: Complete List

Cover Crops: Complete List

Cover Crops: Complete List

View a list of all the resources in the Cover Crop Topic Room.

Browse this page, or jump straight to the following subtopics:

Cover Crops: Selection and Management

Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd Edition

 

Managing Cover Crops Profitably explores how and why cover crops work and provides all the information needed to build cover crops into any farming operation.

Download File (5.66 MB)
 | 

Crop Rotation on Organic Farms

 

Crop rotation strategies that can be applied under various field conditions for conventional or organic crops to improve soil quality and health, and manage pests, diseases, and weeds

Download File (2.96 MB)
 | 

SARE Cover Crops Webinars

 

As part of the Missouri SARE State Program, Debi Kelly hosted two webinars on Cover Crops in fall 2012. Presenters included Charles Ellis, a Natural Resource Engineer with the Lincoln County University of Missouri Extension Center, and Rich Hoormann, an Agronomy Specialist with Montgomery County University of Missouri Extension Center. 

Cover Crops in Soybean Rotations

 

If you are a soybean farmer who plants or is thinking about planting cover crops in your rotation, or are a CCA/agronomist who is expanding cover crop services to soybean farmers, this publication has been written for you.

Download File (1.16 MB)

Dryland Cover Cropping Boosts Yields

 

Nebraska farmers Keith and Brian Berns found they could use cover crops in dryland farming to increase corn yields, and now are sharing their knowledge.

Cover Crops for All Seasons

 

This Virginia Association for Biological Farming information sheet provides research-based information on a cover crop “toolbox” from which growers can select cover crops most suited to their regions and production systems.

Download File (236.38 kB)

Nitrogen Management with Cover Crop Mixtures

 

Charlie White, of Penn State Extension, presents case studies of how mixtures of different cover crop types performed at supplying nitrogen to a following corn crop and reducing nitrate leaching into the subsoil. Tools to assess nitrogen supplied by cover crops to the next cash crop are also discussed.

New York Cover Crops Decision Tool

 

This online tool is designed for the soil, climate, cropping practices and seed market in New York and nearby states.

Selecting Cover Crops

 

This session addressed the relative pros and cons of various cover crop species, including the less common cover crops and cover crops suited to grazing use. 

Annual Cover Crops in Florida Vegetable Systems

 

Fact sheet series from the University of Florida IFAS Extension on integrating cover crops in vegetable production systems in Florida.

Cover Crops Seed Selection and Planting

 

Whether you are new to cover crops or an advanced user, hear from two experts on how they chose and seed their cover crops.

Cover Crop Management and Termination

 

Planning for proper spring management of your cover crop needs to happen before April. Learn from two experts in the field on a couple different methods for termination.

Video: Integrating Oilseed Radish for Vegetable Growers

 

In 2013, Iowa State University Assistant Professor, Ajay Nair, received an NCR-SARE Professional Development grant to train agricultural professionals on concepts and application of cover crops in fruit and vegetable production systems. In a video, Nair demonstrates some of the benefits of integrating oilseed radish into vegetable cropping systems. 

Cover Crops in Organic Systems

 

These documents provide an overview of how the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service NRCS Cover Crop 340 conservation practice can be implemented on organic operations. Specific reports include Western Region, California, Idaho, and Oregon.

Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:

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Cover Crops: Economics

Organic Fertilizer and Cover Crop Calculator

 

This free online tool compares the nutrient value and cost of cover crops, organic and synthetic fertilizers and compost. Use this Excel Calculator to develop well balanced and cost effective nutrient management programs for your farm.

Winter Rye Cover Crop Effect on Cash Crop Yields

 

Cover Crops are an important addition to any farming system to improve soil quality and decrease soil erosion or nutrient loss. Cover crops are normally planted without the intention of a direct harvest. Rather, they are planted for the multiple benefits they provide to the farmer and the environment. In Iowa, cover crops are usually planted into standing corn or soybean crops or are planted after grain harvest. Farmers are concerned that a winter rye cover crop could negatively impact their cash crop yields. 

In this research report from Practical Farmers of Iowa, fall cover crop impacts on corn and soybean yields are summarized.

Download File (868.57 kB)

Cover Crops in Soybean Rotations

 

If you are a soybean farmer who plants or is thinking about planting cover crops in your rotation, or are a CCA/agronomist who is expanding cover crop services to soybean farmers, this publication has been written for you.

Download File (1.16 MB)

Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:

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Cover Crops: Establishment

Comparison of Cover Crop Establishment Methods

 

This research report from Practical Farmers of Iowa presents data about a cover of hairy vetch, tillage radish and rapeseed established in strips by both aerial seeding into standing soybeans and drilling after soybean harvest.

Download File (935.93 kB)

Cover Crops for Soil Health and Nutrient Conservation and Update on the PSU Cover Crop Interseeder

 

Dr. Sjoerd Duiker presents how cover crops can be used to conserve nutrients over the winter, reduce erosion, and replace nitrogen fertilizer needs in the following crop. Dr. Greg Roth presents an update on the Penn State Cover Crop Interseeder, including results from field trials testing the establishment of different cover crop species when interseeded into standing corn crop.

Using Manually Operated Seeders for Precision Cover Crop Plantings on the Small Farm

 

This information sheet describes research in Virginia on using inexpensive, manually operated seeders to establish consistent cover crop stands.

Download File (858.75 kB)

Innovative Ways to Seed Cover Crops

 

This session featured a panel of farmers talking about their experiences with a variety of approaches to seeding and establishing cover crops. 

Cover Crops Seed Selection and Planting

 

Whether you are new to cover crops or an advanced user, hear from two experts on how they chose and seed their cover crops.

Cover Crops in Organic Systems

 

These documents provide an overview of how the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service NRCS Cover Crop 340 conservation practice can be implemented on organic operations. Specific reports include Western Region, California, Idaho, and Oregon.

Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:

Return to top

Cover Crops: Rotations

Cover Crops in Soybean Rotations

 

If you are a soybean farmer who plants or is thinking about planting cover crops in your rotation, or are a CCA/agronomist who is expanding cover crop services to soybean farmers, this publication has been written for you.

Download File (1.16 MB)

Crop Rotation on Organic Farms

 

Crop rotation strategies that can be applied under various field conditions for conventional or organic crops to improve soil quality and health, and manage pests, diseases, and weeds

Download File (2.96 MB)
 | 

Sustainable Crop Rotations with Cover Crops

 

This fact sheet provides information about specific attributes of different cover crops grown after each cash crop.

Download File (535.43 kB)

Growing Cover Crops with a Cash Crop

 

Dan Forgey describes how he grows cover crop mixes in synch with a cash crop of corn, and gets strong yields without chemical fertilizer.

Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:

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Cover Crops: Soil and Fertility Management

Building Soils for Better Crops, 3rd Edition

 

Building Soils for Better Crops is a one-of-a-kind, practical guide to ecological soil management, now expanded and in full color.

Download File (6.76 MB)
 | 

Organic Fertilizer and Cover Crop Calculator

 

This free online tool compares the nutrient value and cost of cover crops, organic and synthetic fertilizers and compost. Use this Excel Calculator to develop well balanced and cost effective nutrient management programs for your farm.

Estimating Plant-Available Nitrogen Release from Cover Crops

 

This Oregon State University fact sheet explains the basics of plant-available nitrogen (PAN); when to kill cover crops for the maximum PAN benefit; step-by-step instructions on how to perform site-specific measurements to predict PAN from your cover crop; and case studies from the Willamette Valley.

Understanding Soil Microbes and Nutrient Recycling

 

This fact sheet provides information about soil microbes, nutrient recycling, and microbial soil organic matter decomposition.

Download File (417.24 kB)

Using Cover Crops to Improve Soil and Water Quality

 

This fact sheet highlights the physical, chemical, biological, and economic benefits of using cover crops in a sustainable cropping system.

Download File (334.77 kB)

The Biology of Soil Compaction

 

This fact sheet discusses how soil porosity, water infiltration, soil aeration, and soil structure increase under natural vegetation and no-till systems with continuous living cover.

Download File (1.13 MB)

Cover Crops for Soil Health and Nutrient Conservation and Update on the PSU Cover Crop Interseeder

 

Dr. Sjoerd Duiker presents how cover crops can be used to conserve nutrients over the winter, reduce erosion, and replace nitrogen fertilizer needs in the following crop. Dr. Greg Roth presents an update on the Penn State Cover Crop Interseeder, including results from field trials testing the establishment of different cover crop species when interseeded into standing corn crop.

Cover Cropping: On-Farm, Solar-Powered Soil Building

 

This information sheet gives an overview of how to use cover crops to maintain good levels of nutrients and organic matter in the soil.

Download File (213.88 kB)

Optimizing Weed Suppression and Nutrient Use Efficiency in Cover Crop-Based No-Till Organic Corn

 

In this webinar, Hanna Poffenbarger of the University of Maryland and Steven Mirsky of the USDA-ARS Sustainable Agriculture Systems Lab discuss optimizing cover crop mixture composition and manure application to achieve weed suppression and adequate, efficient nitrogen delivery in a cover crop-based no-till corn system.

Nitrogen Management with Cover Crop Mixtures

 

Charlie White, of Penn State Extension, presents case studies of how mixtures of different cover crop types performed at supplying nitrogen to a following corn crop and reducing nitrate leaching into the subsoil. Tools to assess nitrogen supplied by cover crops to the next cash crop are also discussed.

Soil Health Principles

 

This session covered basic principles necessary to build soil health.

Cover Crops as Part of an Overall Nutrient Management System

 

Learn from soil health experts about some of the latest research on impacts of cover crops on soil nutrients.

Cover Crops, Soil Health Principles and Maximizing Yields

 

Learn about basic soil health principles and how cover crops are key to making those happen on your farm.

Combining Livestock, Manure and Cover Crops

 

A livestock and cover crop combination is the fastest way to profit from your investment.

Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:

Return to top

Cover Crops: Water Management

Dryland Cover Cropping Boosts Yields

 

Nebraska farmers Keith and Brian Berns found they could use cover crops in dryland farming to increase corn yields, and now are sharing their knowledge.

SARE Cover Crops Webinars

 

As part of the Missouri SARE State Program, Debi Kelly hosted two webinars on Cover Crops in fall 2012. Presenters included Charles Ellis, a Natural Resource Engineer with the Lincoln County University of Missouri Extension Center, and Rich Hoormann, an Agronomy Specialist with Montgomery County University of Missouri Extension Center. 

Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:

Return to top

Cover Crops: Pest Management

Buckwheat Cover Crop Handbook

 

Buckwheat has been used to suppress weeds on Northeastern farms for 400 years. This handbook outlines how to use buckwheat as an economical weed-control tool, with recommendations based on extensive grower surveys, original research and on-farm trials.

Download File (458.29 kB)

Influence of Cover Crops on Insect Pests and Predators in Conservation Tillage Cotton

 

Results of a two-year research project to determine the impact of several cover crops on pest and predator insects in conservation tillage cotton.

A Sunn Hemp Cover Crop for Soil Health and Nematode Management

 

These University of Hawaii fact sheets and virtual field day explain how to use sunn hemp as a cover crop to control weeds, nematodes and other pests, add soil nutrients, prevent erosion, and contribute to a more robust and complex community of beneficial nematodes.

Winter Annual Weed Suppression in Rye–Vetch Cover Crop Mixtures

 

Zachary Hayden received an NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grant to evaluate the relative effects of rye, hairy vetch, and rye-vetch mixture cover crops on the biomass and density of winter annual weed communities. This SARE research supports that winter cover crops composed of rye or vetch (or both) can significantly suppress winter annual weeds. 

Download File (190.59 kB)

Invertebrate Pests and Their Natural Enemies in Conservation Tillage Cropping Systems

 

In this webinar by Dr. Mary Barbercheck and Maggie Douglas, learn the basics about key early-season insect and slug pests that can pose problems in conservation tillage systems with high amounts of cover crop residues and how crop management practices can help reduce pest damage. Also, learn about ongoing research into naturally-occurring predators of early season insects and slugs and how best to conserve them.

Optimizing Weed Suppression and Nutrient Use Efficiency in Cover Crop-Based No-Till Organic Corn

 

In this webinar, Hanna Poffenbarger of the University of Maryland and Steven Mirsky of the USDA-ARS Sustainable Agriculture Systems Lab discuss optimizing cover crop mixture composition and manure application to achieve weed suppression and adequate, efficient nitrogen delivery in a cover crop-based no-till corn system.

Beyond Black Plastic

 

While the use of black plastic is allowed within organic agriculture, it is inherently unsustainable as it is a petroleum-based product and difficult to recycle.

This 24-page guide looks beyond plasticulture and evaluates the effects of different mulch systems on soil quality and fertility, weed control, yields and waste production, and profitability for small to mid-size vegetable farms.

Download File (1.51 MB)

Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:

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Cover Crops: No-Till

Using Cover Crops to Convert to No-till

 

This fact sheet explains how growing cover crops can help farmers adapt faster to a continuous no-till system.

Download File (641.99 kB)

Cover Crops and No-Till Management for Organic Systems

 

This Rodale Institute fact sheet reviews the use of cover crops and no-till in organic systems, including selection, establishment and mechanical termination of cover crops; crop rotations; and energy and production budgets.

Download File (490.21 kB)

Adding Cover Crops to a No-Till System

 

South Dakota farm manager Dan Forgey has improved soil quality and the bottom line by successfully introducing cover crops to his long-term no-till system.

Grant Puts (Good) Crimp in Farm Operations

 

It all began in 2002 with a $6,500 SARE grant and the seed of an idea: a no-till tractor implement that rolls, crimps and kills cover crops, creating a weed suppressing mulch.

Spring Seedbed Characteristics after Winter-Killed Cover Crops

 

Dr. Ray Weil and Natalie Lounsbury have been investigating the possibility of no-till planting early spring vegetables such as spinach and lettuce after a forage radish cover crop without the use of herbicides. They discuss soil moisture, temperature and nutrient status in early spring as well as seedling emergence and yield.

Reduced Tillage and Cover Cropping Systems for Organic Vegetable Production

 

This information sheet captures research by Virginia Tech and the Virginia Association for Biological Farming to develop cover crop-based, reduced-tillage systems for organic vegetable production.

Download File (504.52 kB)

Invertebrate Pests and Their Natural Enemies in Conservation Tillage Cropping Systems

 

In this webinar by Dr. Mary Barbercheck and Maggie Douglas, learn the basics about key early-season insect and slug pests that can pose problems in conservation tillage systems with high amounts of cover crop residues and how crop management practices can help reduce pest damage. Also, learn about ongoing research into naturally-occurring predators of early season insects and slugs and how best to conserve them.

Optimizing Weed Suppression and Nutrient Use Efficiency in Cover Crop-Based No-Till Organic Corn

 

In this webinar, Hanna Poffenbarger of the University of Maryland and Steven Mirsky of the USDA-ARS Sustainable Agriculture Systems Lab discuss optimizing cover crop mixture composition and manure application to achieve weed suppression and adequate, efficient nitrogen delivery in a cover crop-based no-till corn system.

No-Till and Cover Crop Innovations Increase Dairy Profits

 

To help dairy farmers optimize overall forage production and quality, SARE-funded researchers led field trials and demonstrations in three New England states to determine the benefits of cover crops, no-till and shorter-season corn silage varieties. 

Integrating No-Till or Strip-Till with Cover Crops

 

Maximize soil conservation and soil health benefits of cover crops by combining this practice with no-till or strip-till systems.

Beyond Black Plastic

 

While the use of black plastic is allowed within organic agriculture, it is inherently unsustainable as it is a petroleum-based product and difficult to recycle.

This 24-page guide looks beyond plasticulture and evaluates the effects of different mulch systems on soil quality and fertility, weed control, yields and waste production, and profitability for small to mid-size vegetable farms.

Download File (1.51 MB)

Video: Reduced Tillage Systems for Organic Vegetable Production

 

In this video, Iowa State University graduate student, Dana Jokela, talks about the research he conducted through an NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grant to compare no tillage, strip tillage, and conventional tillage in the organic production of broccoli and bell pepper to determine their effects on yield, soil health, and cropping system profitability.

Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:

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Cover Crops: Miscellaneous

Role of Cover Crops in Converting Perennial Pasture to Vegetable Ground

 

In West Branch, Iowa, Scattergood Farm converted pasture from perennial alfalfa and clover to vegetable crop ground from summer 2010 to spring 2011. This research report from Practical Farmers of Iowa summarizes the effects of two cover crops or no cover crop on numbers of weeds and compaction measured by soil density in a vegetable crop following a transition from a pasture. Farm manager, Mark Quee, felt the cover crops assisted his conversion from pasture ground to vegetable plots. He felt the cover crops helped build soil and reduced weed pressure significantly in preparation for vegetable plants.

Download File (1.97 MB)

Winter Annual Weed Suppression in Rye–Vetch Cover Crop Mixtures

 

Zachary Hayden received an NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grant to evaluate the relative effects of rye, hairy vetch, and rye-vetch mixture cover crops on the biomass and density of winter annual weed communities. This SARE research supports that winter cover crops composed of rye or vetch (or both) can significantly suppress winter annual weeds. 

Download File (190.59 kB)

Winter Rye Cover Crop Effect on Cash Crop Yields

 

Cover Crops are an important addition to any farming system to improve soil quality and decrease soil erosion or nutrient loss. Cover crops are normally planted without the intention of a direct harvest. Rather, they are planted for the multiple benefits they provide to the farmer and the environment. In Iowa, cover crops are usually planted into standing corn or soybean crops or are planted after grain harvest. Farmers are concerned that a winter rye cover crop could negatively impact their cash crop yields. 

In this research report from Practical Farmers of Iowa, fall cover crop impacts on corn and soybean yields are summarized.

Download File (868.57 kB)

Environmental Impacts of Cover Crops

 

Speakers in this session discussed both local and off-site environmental impacts of using cover crops.

Grazing Cover Crops and Benefits for Livestock Operations

 

This session explored integrating cover crops with livestock operations.

Combining Livestock, Manure and Cover Crops

 

A livestock and cover crop combination is the fastest way to profit from your investment.

Using Sunn Hemp as a Cover Crop in Oklahoma

 

OSU Extension fact sheet on sunn hemp as a cover crop.

Download File (640.12 kB)

Native bees and flowering cover crops

 

While managed colonies of European honey bees are most frequently used for crop pollination, wild or native bees commonly provide the same pollination services for ‘free’ without the costs of renting or maintaining honey bee hives.

Download File (382.18 kB)

Agroecological Strategies to Enhance On-Farm Insect Pollinators

 

This chapter from Manage Insects on Your Farm describes how to use cover crops, hedgerows, reduced tillage and other strategies to support native pollinators and beneficial insects.

Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:

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Dig deeper into cover crops research: SARE has funded hundreds of research and education projects related to cover crops since 1988. This topic room features only a glimpse into SARE's entire portfolio of cover crop research. To discover more, visit SARE's database of projects and conduct full text or advanced keyword searches.

Building Soils for Better Crops, 3rd Edition

Type: Book

Building Soils for Better Crops is a one-of-a-kind, practical guide to ecological soil management, now expanded and in full color.

Published: 2010
Pages: 294

Online Version: Free

Download File (6.76 MB)
 | 
Print Version:
$20.95
 

Farmers Say Cover Crops Work

cover image

From increasing yield to improving soil health, find out why farmers use cover crops. For three years, SARE and partner organizations have conducted a national survey of farmers on their experiences with cover crops.

2012-2013 Survey: Summary and report (PDF).

2013-2014 Survey: Summary and report (PDF).

2014-2015 Survey: Summary and report (PDF).

2015-2016 Survey: Summary and report (PDF)

 

Cover Crop Innovators Series

Watch short videos of innovative farmers from across the country describing how they have successfully added cover crops to their cash crop rotations. Learn more.

 

Are you an ag educator or farmer interested in sharing the Cover Crop Topic Room at an event? Consider using this one-page flyer (PDF) or the four-page topic brief, Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations.