Cover crop mixes, or cocktails, can do a lot, but can also be complex to put together. Mitch Hunter (Penn State University) discusses the principles of how to assemble different cover crop species into a successful cocktail based on farm management objectives, crop rotation restraints, and which cover crop species traits are complementary.
This session was part of Cover Crops for Soil Health, a three-day professional development workshop hosted by Northeast SARE and Delaware State University in March 2016. All session recordings are available online.
Find more practical information about cover crops in the Cover Crops Topic Room.
Mitch Hunter is a PhD candidate in Agronomy at Penn State University working with Dr. David Mortensen to develop ecologically sound farming systems that are productive, economical, and workable for farmers. His current research focuses on using diverse cover crop “cocktails” to improve cropping system productivity, sustainability, and resilience in the face of challenging climatic conditions. He is investigating how cover crops affect the water relations of the following corn crop under drought, since drought is expected to become more frequent and severe under climate change. He is also assessing how cover crop cocktails can contribute to ecological weed management. Mitch draws inspiration from time spent working on Hunter family farms in Minnesota and Illinois and on ranches in California and Nevada. Prior to coming to Penn State he was the Federal Policy Manager with American Farmland Trust in Washington, DC, where he worked to promote on-farm conservation in the federal Farm Bill. He received a B.A. in Government from Harvard University following two years of liberal arts study, self-governance, and student labor at Deep Springs College.
Complete session recordings
- Overview of Cover Crop Developments Nationwide
- Cover Crop Planting Dates and Seeding Rates
- Cover Crop Cocktails
- Establishment Methods for Cover Crops and Cash Crops in Grain Production Systems
- Fitting Cover Crops in Vegetable Rotations
- Managing Cover Crops for Ecosystem Services in Vegetable Systems
- Cover Crops: Current and Future Directions
- Evaluating and Improving Cover Crop Performance and Adoption
- Cover Crops as Part of an Overall Nutrient Management System
- Managing Soil Health With Cover Crops: Beyond the Basics
- Cover Crop Field Tour Recap and Debrief
- Farmer Panel on Cover Crops