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Land & Water Conservation

Cover Crops
A cover crop is grass, legume, forb or other herbaceous plant that are established for seasonal cover and conservational purposes. The practice may be used to reduce wind or water erosion by establishing cover after a minimal residue crop. Cover crops are planted to use up excess nutrients in the soil profile, for weed suppression, to provide nutrients to the next crop, to increase carbon sequestration and improve soil structure. They are excellent tools for helping to improve soil health.

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Some Benefits of doing Cover Crops:
 1. Cut fertilizer costs
        by contributing N to cash crops and by scavenging and mining soil nutrients.
 2. Reduce the need for herbicides and other pesticides
        Cover crops suppress weeds and reduce damage by disease, insects and nematodes. 
 3. Improve yields by enhancing soil health
        a. Speeding infiltration of excess surface water
         b. Relieving compaction and improving structure of overtilled soil
          c. Adding organic matter that encourages beneficial soil microbial life
          d. Enhancing nurtient cycling
 4. Prevent soil erosion
        a. quick growing cover crops hold soil in place,
          b. reduce crusting and protect agains erosion due to wind and rain.
 5. Conserve soil moisture
        Residue from killed cover crops increases water infiltration and reduces evaporation,
           resulting in less moisture stress during drought.
 6. Protect water quality
        By slowing erosion and runoff, cover crops reduce nonpoint source pollution caused
           by sediments, nurtients and agricultural chemicals.
 7. Help safeguard personal health
        By reducing reliance on agrichemicals for cash crop production, cover crops help
           protect the health of your family, neighbors and farm workers.
**You can increase the range of benefits by increasing the diversity of cover crops grown, the frequency of use between cash crops and the length of time that cover crops are growing in the field.**


CoverCrops Summer-Fall-Summer

Rainfall Simulator to see the differences: