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cover crops

cover crops

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cover crops

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  1. cover crops • Provide food for beneficial soil microbes and earthworms • Increase soil organic matter, which helps improve soil quality and fertility Blanco-Canqui et al., 2011

  2. Cover crops prevent runoff and can help retain soil moisture Soil Moisture Retention By Cover Crops In Corn • a cover crop mulch preserved moisture in a drought DAR= days after rain (irrigation) NCC=no cover crop NT= no till with a rolled cover crop mulch TCC= cover crop mowed and tilled in

  3. Cover crops help reduce soil compaction and soil erosion Blanco-Canqui et al., 2011 Williams and Weil, 2004

  4. Weed Control • Cover crops produce a lot of biomass, which helps to prevent weed germination and growth • Fallow fields grow weeds, plant a cover crop in the off season Cowpea Weedy plot with no cover crop

  5. Nutrient advantages • Winter cover crops capture and hold nitrogen so that it is not lost to the atmosphere • Increased organic matter is a nutrient reservoir • Legume cover crops produce nitrogen that can then be used by the following crop, reducing fertilizer costs McVay et al., 1989

  6. Manure and Compost • Add nutrients • Improve water infiltration and retention • Improve structure Water content after 3 years of compost addition Porosity after 4 years of fertilizer, compost or manure addition Zebarth et al., 1999 Celik et al., 2004