Thursday, 27 October 2011
The grass (rye possibly), and more importantly the roots help to hold the soil in place through the winter and spring run-off when tons of soil can be lost on bare ground. But the benefits don't end there. The grass helps soak up excess nitrates from fertilizer used to grow the harvested crop. Nitrates work because they're water soluble and get taken into growing plants. Nitrates are a menace to ground water and waterways because they're water soluble and leach out of the soil if they're not used. Once they're taken up by plants they become much more stable chemically and available for next year's crop.
Perfect world: no fall plowing, cover crops on harvested fields. We don't live in a perfect world.