Cover Crop information map

Cover Crop Options after Corn or Soybean Harvest

In drought conditions there is less residue than normal in many fields. In some, the crop was harvested as a forage or cut as silage, leaving very little residue at all. Without residue to absorb the energy of raindrop impact and keep the wind off the soil surface, soil erosion will be greater and surface crusting could be a problem. Also, without the water-conserving residue mulch, soil moisture losses by evaporation will be much higher. To reduce these problems, producers should consider planting a cover crop to help protect the soil. With the early harvest and the open fall this year, there is enough time for a cover crop to be seeded and to have adequate growth to provide some benefits. The growing cover crop will “harvest” sunlight and carbon dioxide that would be otherwise wasted as there is no cash crop growing.

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