Cover Crops: Miscellaneous
Innovative SARE-funded research in miscellaneous topics related to cover crops, including the use of livestock and information on specific cover crop species.
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.
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.
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.
Speakers in this session discussed both local and off-site environmental impacts of using cover crops.
This session explored integrating cover crops with livestock operations.
A livestock and cover crop combination is the fastest way to profit from your investment.
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:
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.