cover crops


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cover crops

[′kəv·ər ‚kräps]
(agriculture)
Crops, especially grasses, grown for the express purpose of preventing and protecting a bare soil surface.
References in periodicals archive ?
Cover crops are a great way to add natural organic fertilizer to an area while providing additional forage for the pigs to consume.
Students were given Soil Ag Mags and read some of the daily facts and information from the calendar about the cover crops.
Cover crops also limit erosion and often provide food for bees and other pollinators.
Cover crops play a key role in nutrient cycling in the soil and add labile organic carbon to the system, bringing economic benefits with minimal long-term impact on the soil and on water and air quality (REICOSKY & FORCELLA, 1998).
Cover crops also provide green manure to improve soil structure and composition.
Soil amendments and winter cover crops have led to increased soil carbon sequestration, higher infiltration rates and greater aggregate stability in the organic system compared to the conventional systems; however, these benefits may be of limited interest to growers if yields are substantially reduced.
But if farmers decide to plow, then they should consider adopting a high-residue cover crop and immediately return to their conservation system in subsequent years.
And nitrate levels in drinking-water systems like Des Moines' have gotten so dire--inspiring a fierce, ongoing public battle between the city's water utility and the state's Big Ag-aligned politicians--that the "Legislature in Iowa is getting serious about funding cover crops," she says.
This study aimed to measure, quantitatively, the effect of tillage systems and different cover crops (millet, sunn hemp and spontaneous plants in the fallow period) on soil density, total porosity, macro and microporosity and soil resistance to penetration in different layers, as well as soybean yield.
For example, annual cover crops tend to be less competitive for soil nitrogen resources than perennial plants because of their shorter growth cycle and less root development.
The ARS researchers also found that, with respect to reducing erosion and surface runoff, the benefits of strip tillage were enhanced with cover crops.
Five generations of the Hoff family--members of the Maryland-Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative--have farmed this land, using manure management practices, no-till, cover crops and riparian buffers to minimize runoff of nutrient and sediment while maintaining a productive farming operation.