Cover Crops: Water Management

Cover Crops: Water Management

Cover Crops: Water Management

Because they improve infiltration and blanket the soil, cover crops have been shown to preserve, not deplete, soil moisture for following cash crops.

The Science of Soil Health: Cover Crops and Moisture

No cropping system is drought proof, but there are things farmers can do to mitigate the effects of a dry year. North Carolina State University's Dr. Chris Reberg-Horton discusses how cover crops affect water dynamics through the life-cycle of the cash crop.


For more information, see the related SARE grant LS12-247, CEFS Long-Term Systems Research: Providing the building blocks of resilient food production systems.

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:

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.


Cover Crop Innovators Series

Watch 10 short videos of innovative Midwestern farmers 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.


Farmers Say Cover Crops Work

SARE-CTIC CC Survey Report Cover

During the fall of 2012, corn yields increased 9.6% when planted after a cover crop, compared to side-by-side fields with no cover crops, and soybean yields improved 11.6% following cover crops. Because of this, and witnessed improvements to soil and water quality, farmers across the Midwest are rapidly expanding their cover crop acreage.

Learn more about farmers' experiences with cover crops in the 2012-2013 Cover Crop Survey. Read a summary or download the full report.