Is It Still Worth Establishing Cover Crops?
Posted: November 6, 2012
In our August edition of Field Crop News we reviewed our research in which we evaluated cover crop biomass from early-May to early-June when planted from mid-September to mid-October. Since we are now beginning the second week of November it is too late for most cover crop species. The only species that can still be planted are cereal rye, triticale, and wheat. Most other cover crop species are not likely to survive the winter. Even these three are not likely to put on much growth before the onset of winter starts, but they will still grow vigorously in the spring. The level of soil erosion protection and nutrient uptake will be small until the spring. However, research has shown that the bulk of nitrate leaching is at the end of winter/beginning of spring and soil erosion can also be severe if soils are not covered. So although benefits will be smaller it is still beneficial to establish cover crops even at this late stage.
- Associate Professor of Soil Management and Applied Soil Physics