Cover Crops and Ecosystem Services: Insights from Studies in Temperate Soils

A summarization of the prior knowledge about potential cover crop benefits is needed for broader understanding of cover crop impacts on soil agricultural production and knowledge gaps that need further research. The objectives of this review were to; review the current state of knowledge of the potential ecosystem services the cover crops provide including erosion […]

Soil Organic Matter Content and Crop Yield

Most agricultural soils are depleted of their soil organic matter (SOM) reserves. A severe loss of SOM content may degrade soil functionality, its capacity for provisioning of essential ecosystem services, and soil health. SOM is a critical indicator of soil health, and its content affects crop yield through its role in enhancing and sustaining soil […]

Spring-Applied Corn Herbicides Impact Fall-Planted Cover Crops in South Dakota

In the northern Great Plains, planting cover crops after a full-season cash crop often results in a poor or marginal stand due to low temperatures and/or dry soils. Greater stand establishment and growth has been obtained if the cover crop follows a short season crop or if it is interseeded into corn or after or […]

Carryover of Common Corn and Soybean Herbicides to Various Cover Crop Species

According to a survey of cover crop users in the United States, the second biggest challenge to the adoption of cover crops is successful establishment in a corn or soybean production system. Additionally, certain residual herbicides applied in a corn and soybean rotation have the potential to carry over in the soil and inhibit successful […]

Planting Green Effects on Corn and Soybean Production

Compared to tilled soil, no-till soils are cooler and wetter, potentially delaying planting dates and seed germination. Despite the benefits of cover crops, no-till farmers that use CCs tend to delay main crop planting longer, especially in humid, temperate regions. Growers dedicated to no-till and cover cropping practices have started Planting Green (PG), which can […]

Soil Health Management Practices and Crop Productivity

Healthy soils constitute the foundation of thriving ecosystems and societies and are directly tied to food and nutritional security, water quality, human health, climate change mitigation/adaptation, and biodiversity. While soil health frameworks are comparatively recent initiatives, there are thousands of published conservation agriculture studies that examine yield outcomes with cover crops, no-till, and rotation. The […]

Functional Traits in Cover Crop Mixtures: Biological Nitrogen Fixation and Multifunctionality

In agroecosystems, small increase in biodiversity can lead to large benefits for ecosystem function. Cover crop mixtures can increase the functional trait diversity of crop rotations during windows between cultivation of primary crops. To date, much of the empirical research on biodiversity and ecosystem function has focused on single functions, but there is growing interest […]