Farmers rely on the latest crop variety trials to make informed decisions on planting the best adapted crop variety to maximize yield given their soils and production practices. With the ever growing interest in planting cover crops, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Plant Materials Program initiated a nationwide study to identify adapted varieties of cool season annual species for cover cropping.
With input from State Agronomists and State Soil Health Specialists, seven cool season annual cover crop species were identified for comparative evaluations using the network of NRCS Plant Materials Centers (PMCs).
The PMCs assembled commercially available varieties of black oats, black seeded oats, cereal rye, crimson clover, daikon radish, hairy vetch, red clover, and winter/field pea to evaluate their performance and adaptation to different soils and geographical regions in the U.S. Information from this study along with local research from university extension and other research entities can assist farmers and conservation planners in selecting adapted cool season annual varieties for their crop production systems.
Additional information for each PMC location, including plant height and biomass (where collected), can be found in their final study reports hyperlinked at the
end of this document.