Picking the Right Cover Crop

Farming using the Strip-Till method continues to grow in popularity across the United States. Its benefits both from a conservation standpoint and by overall crop yield is undeniable. However, those new to Strip-Till or even those who are experienced often wonder if they are using the best cover crop.

Experimentation is the key, so you will make mistakes and that is ok. It is recommended that when selecting ground cover, you select a variety of seeds. Know the land history, land usage, future goals, soil type, climate, livestock usage and cost of seed. There are creative ways to keep cost down and still achieve your goals. Since the results of your experimentation won’t be known until the following year when you recheck the soil and yield of the last harvest; it is important that you adapt your methods to new information. It could take several years before the ideal method is clear. Keeping up to date complete records is necessary for success.

Having an up-to-date drainage system will help you tremendously when implementing a Strip-Till or No-Till strategy. Ground cover is great for almost immediate water filtration. As spring thaws cause ponding, you will see how much water holding capacity is available.