Cover Crops

Using cover crops is regaining some popularity with farmers. Some institutions have been recently researching this topic. 
Essentially what you want to accomplish with cover crops is to feed the soil biology (bacteria) a diverse diet. The bacteria break down crop residue quickly. Cover crops also allow you to harvest sunlight for more months out of the year, thereby adding carbon (organic matter) to the soil. Other benefits: Improve water capacity, reduce erosion, reduce weed pressure, decrease nitrogen leaching

Purdue Resources

  • The following guide will aid in the selection, growth, and ultimate utilization of cover crops to improve and  benefit your farm. 
  • The Conservation Technology Information Center See upcoming events, Read through the forum, Learn about current projects, Find contact info for other farmers using cover crops
  • A presentation from Keith Johnson includes valuable information specific to utilizing cover crops in Indiana. 
  • A concise pdf document written by research extension specialists discusses effective cover crop termination using herbicides. 
  • Winter Cover Crops can be an important assett and the Purdue University Agronomy Guide has a great article about the use and management of them. 

External Resources

The Midwest Cover Crop Council is a great place to start learning from the beginning, but also very useful for experts. Learn about upcoming events, use the cover crop selecor tools, read about research projects, get info from Midwest Extension programs and publications

The Soil Organic Matter Calculator​ predicts the soil organic matter in a field in response to cropping pattern, tillage, manure application, erosion, cover crops and stover removal