Typically grasses or legume cover crops are the unsung heroes of agriculture. They serve many purposes which can be tailored to reach the most benefit for your operation. Cover crops are one of the best ways to improve soil health, reduce soil erosion and protect natural resources.
Benefits of Cover Crops
Certain varieties produce natural biochemicals that induce nematode eggs to hatch early, resulting in population control.
Cover crops protect the soil’s surface and can improve the drainage of wet soils. They also add additional organic matter which helps hold moisture in the soil profile.
Legume cover crops add significant amounts of available nitrogen to the soil. In nitrogen-rich soils, non-legumes can be used to take up the excess.
A dense stand of the right cover crops can help suppress weed growth by shading the soil. Some species also have allelopathic qualities, which naturally inhibit weed growth.
Cover crops like ryegrass or clover can also be used as forage for your livestock.
Cover crops are planted toward the end of the growing season, which means species that establish quickly are essential to get the most benefit.
Planting certain cover crops will attract insects like ladybugs, ground beetles and pollinators which are all-natural predators of detrimental insects.
Cover crops hold the soil in place to capture and retain rainwater and prevent erosion from wind and water run-off.
Species with deep, fibrous or tap-root systems help break up dense, compacted soil, improving its porosity.
Some cover crops are able to store nutrients left behind from the previous cash crop, preventing the loss of important soil nutrients. They then release them back into the soil before the next crop.
Interested in the cover crop seed line up available from Missouri Southern Seed? View our current cover crop products.