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Cover Cropping Definition per Wikipedia: A cover crop is a crop planted primarily to manage soil fertility, soil quality, water, weeds, pests, diseases, biodiversity and wildlife in an agroecosystem (Lu et al. 2000), an ecological system managed and largely shaped by humans across a range of intensities to produce food, feed, or fiber.
Reasons to cover crop:
Important factors to consider when deciding on cover crop:
1. Goal (ie: weed suppression)
2. Time of year
3. Cover Crop Management a. Equipment- mowing or plowing to kill b. When it will need to be killed and incorporated for the following crop
Math: Area to be cover cropped / 43,560 sq. ft. in an acre = % of an acre you are cover cropping
Lb. of cover crop suggested for an acre X % of an acre you are cover cropping = Lb. of seed needed
Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd Edition, beginning on page 66 there are some very helpful charts giving the benefits of many types of cover crops. All SARE books are available for FREE download.
Cornell Cover Crop Guide
Cornell Cover Crop Decision Tool
Video from Rodale using a roller crimper, a tool used to turn cover crop into mulch for no till planting