Soil health benefits are often enhanced when using cover crops in combination with no-till.
A comprehensive guide on conservation tillage systems for farms in the southeastern United States, providing information on the core components of conservation tillage systems as well as addressing regional considerations.
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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)
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.
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.
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)
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.
This publication explores sustainable, organic mulches such as cover crops and no-till and reduced tillage systems as alternatives to black plastic mulch for weed control. The booklet includes a discussion of the impact of organic mulches on soil quality and fertility, weed control, yields and waste production, and profitability for small to mid-size vegetable operations. Download File (1.51 MB)
Also, visit SARE’s database for reports on these research projects:
- Trials and Informing Regional Farmers About Organic Weed Control Methods (2011, New Mexico) and the continuation, Making Roller Crimping a Reality in the Southwest (2013, New Mexico)
- Cover Crop Selection and Use in Organic No-Till Farming (2010, North Dakota)
- A Farmer-Researcher Collaborative Effort to Design No-Till Systems Appropriate for Small-Scale Organic Producers in Alabama and the Deep South (2009, Alabama)
- Transitioning to Sustainable Agriculture Using Continuous No-Till and Cover Crops (2009, Ohio)
- Rolled Down Cover Crop Mulch for Pumpkin and Soybean Production (2009, Pennsylvania)
- Managing Cover Crop and Conservation Tillage Systems to Enhance Vegetable Crop Yields, Economic Returns and Environmental Quality (2004, Oregon)
- Weed Management in Organic Conservation Tillage/No-Tillage (2004, Ohio)
- Multipurpose Brassica Cover Crops for Sustaining Northeast Farmers (2003, Maryland)
- Conservation Tillage Benefits in a Cotton-Centered Crop Rotation System (2001, Arizona)
- No-Till Wheat into Medic vs. Conventional Wheat (1999, Montana)
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.
Table of Contents
- Cover Crops: Selection and Management
- Cover Crops: Economics
- Cover Crops: Ecosystem Services from Cover Crops
- 10 Ways Cover Crops Enhance Soil Health
- Cover Crops at Work: Covering the Soil to Prevent Erosion
- Cover Crops at Work: Increasing Infiltration
- Cover Crops at Work: Keeping Nutrients Out of Waterways
- Cover Crops at Work: Increasing Soil Organic Matter
- Cover Crops and Carbon Sequestration
- Cover Crops Improve Soil Conditions and Prevent Pollution
- Impact of Cover Crops on Natural Enemies and Pests
- Cover Crop Impacts on Soil Invertebrates
- Cover Crop Impacts on Pollinators
- Cover Crop Effects on Deer and Other Mammalian Wildlife
- Cover Crop Effects on Songbirds and Game Birds
- Cover Crops: Environmental Impacts
- Cover Crops: Establishment
- Cover Crops: Crop Rotations
- Cover Crops: Soil and Fertility Management
- Cover Crops: Water Management
- Cover Crops: Pest Management
- Cover Crops: No-till
- Cover Crops: Miscellaneous Topics
- National Cover Crop Surveys
- Library of Images, Illustrations and Presentations
- Cover Crops: Additional Resources