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lntercropping Kernza® with Legumes
Growers in the North Central region are exploring the benefits of intercropping legumes with the intermediate wheatgrass Kernza®.
Grazing Livestock on Cover Crops in Double or Relay Cropping Systems, Post-Weaning
Mike Ostlie received SARE-support to seed cover crops into an existing crop rotation for fall and winter grazing as an alternative to drylot backgrounding.
Using Cover Crops to Reduce Plasticulture
Dana and Karin Jokela are working to reduce their use of plasticulture with cover crops.
North Dakota Farmers Pursue Soil Stewardship Through Cover Crops
THE CHALLENGE The practice of planting a cover crop holds many opportunities for farmers. Cover crops can build soil health, curb erosion, control weeds, improve water and nutrient management, and increase the bottom line. In North Dakota, they have the potential to reduce soil salinity by using excess water, which is a problem on hundreds […]
Spring-Grazing Cover Crops with Nebraska’s Knuth Farms
When a fourth-generation farm in Mead, Nebraska began to diversify their primarily cash crop operation in 2012, they gave some thought to cover crops and livestock. Knuth Farms didn’t want to buy cattle or become beef producers, but they did want to diversify their income stream, capture some of the soil benefits of cover crops, […]
Illinois Farmer Builds Precision Seeder to Maximize Cover Crop Advantage
Ralph “Junior” Upton is no novice when it comes to no-till and cover crops. His grain farm in the northeast corner of Hamilton county Illinois is 100% no-till with 1,800 acres of corn, beans, and wheat, and approximately 1,200 acres in cover crops. Upton has been farming more than 50 years, and the farm has […]
Incorporating Cover Crops in North Dakota
In a short growing season like North Dakota's, effectively using cover crops can seem like a challenge. Establishing a specific on-farm goal is key to utilizing cover crops successfully. Getting familiar with and then fine-tuning approaches is important to achieve desired outcomes. In this publication, NDSU soil health researchers, Abbey Wick, Caley Gasch, and Marisol Berti provide a starting point.
Iowa Farmers Seek Sustainability with Cover Crops and No-Till
In 2002, a $6,500 SARE grant funded an idea for a new tool at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. The tool was a roller-crimper, a steel drum with blades that was mounted to a tractor and used to roll down cover crops. The idea was that the mat of dead cover crops would act as mulch, which researchers hoped no-till farmers […]
Cover Crop-based Reduced Tillage for Fall Production of Cabbage,Cauliflower and Broccoli Using a Roller-Crimper and No-Till Planting Aid
Cover crops can reduce erosion, improve soil health, slow weeds, enhance nutrient and moisture availability, control pests, and offer other benefits to vegetable producers. After vegetable grower, Thomas Ruggieri, planted cover crops on his farm in rural Clay County, Missouri in 2004, he noticed dramatic improvement in soil fertility and plant health. Ruggieri and Rebecca […]
Economics of Grazing and Haying Cover Crops in North Central Kansas
Grown on an estimated 10 million acres across the country, cover crops are becoming an indispensable part of crop rotations. To maintain this momentum, the development of reliable information at the local level—how to craft a diversified rotation that pays—needs to keep pace with growth in farmers’ interest. That is what motivated Josh Roe to […]
The Economic Analysis of Cover Crops, Soil Health, the Role of Livestock and Impact on Moisture
May 2015 was the wettest month in history in the United States according to the National Centers for Environmental Information, and many communities in Nebraska saw record levels of rain and accompanying flooding. In 2014, three farm families in Nebraska and Iowa received a $22,378 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to study a variety of economic […]
Cover Crop Termination
Farmers use cover crops to slow erosion, improve soil health, enhance water availability, smother weeds, help control pests and diseases, and increase biodiversity on their farms. Although cover crops can be partially grazed or used as forage, they are usually terminated before planting production crops. While row crop producers tend to prefer using herbicides to terminate, most vegetable/horticulture crop producers employ tillage as their primary means of termination. Some organic no-till producers use roller-crimpers to kill the cover crop and leave the mulch on the soil surface to conserve water. NCR-SARE has supported various research projects that have explored the advantages and limits of various cover crop termination strategies.
Utilizing Cover Crops to Increase Productivity, Health and Vigor on Tame Grass Pasture
Donnie Feiring owns and operates Feiring’s Cattle Co. in Beach, ND, a 120-head registered Black Angus cow calf operation. They also run 35 head of commercial yearling heifers. Feiring wanted to improve the health, vigor and productivity of 50 acres of tame grass pasture - tame pastures are cultivated fields planted with introduced (non-native) grass […]
Adapting Cover Crops to Northern Climate Conventional Cropping Systems
Northeast Minnesota is home to a large beef cow-calf sector, several dairy farms, and an increasing amount of cash grain farming. In each of these types of operations, annual cultivation of corn, soybeans, oats, and barley is common. Annual cultivation of these crops can lead to high rates of nutrient leaching and soil erosion, decreased […]
Evaluating the Roller-Crimper for Cover Crops in Corn and Soybean Terraced Ground
In northwest Missouri, a practice known as terracing is used to prevent ditches. Michael Willis, a beginning farmer in northwest Missouri, says that cover crops can reduce the need for terraces, but terraces still prove to be important to prevent ditch formation during the transitional phase from traditional no-till to no-till with cover crops. Willis […]
Improving Pasture Quality with Cover Crops in North Dakota
Donnie and Trisha Feiring own and operate Feiring’s Cattle Company in Beach, North Dakota, a 120-head registered Black Angus cow calf operation. They also run 35 head of commercial yearling heifers. Without a lot of machinery on the ranch, the Feirings tend to think outside of the box when it comes to operational concerns. In […]
Perkins’ Good Earth Farm is a small family farm that operates on 19 acres. They currently grow only one-quarter acre of organic garlic but hope to increase their productivity in this area by 50 percent. Two major challenges in achieving this goal are the cost of additional labor and worker comfort during planting and harvesting. […]
Iowa Farmer Mechanizes Planting and Maintenance Tasks in Vegetables with Companion Plants
The Genuine Faux Farm, operated by Rob and Tammy Faux since 2004, is a small family operation that grows a wide variety of vegetables that are sold and distributed to about 120 community supported agriculture (CSA) customers. Produce also is sold via farmers’ markets and direct sales to a daycare, retirement center, and grocery store. […]
Michigan State Graduate Student Explores the Benefits of Adding Cover Crops to Vegetable Production
Cover crops can help slow erosion, improve soil, smother weeds, enhance nutrient and moisture availability, help control many pests, and bring a host of other benefits to farms across the country. Cereal-legume cover crop mixtures are of particular interest to growers because they can effectively suppress weeds, control erosion, and scavenge leachable nitrate while also […]
Producers and Researchers Collaborate to Improve Soil Health in North Dakota
Soil—and whole farms—have been renewed through soil-improving practices like cover crops and no till. In the semiarid plains of western North Dakota, a team of producers and researchers are working to boost soil health for improved yield stability, farm income, and natural resource health of farms. The Southwest North Dakota Soil Health Project is a […]