Thursday, 27 October 2011

Love It

I just can't think of anything more important than fall cover crops.  It's an expense, getting a "catch" becomes more risky later in the Fall, but the benefits, and what it says about the farmer who does it, are very important.

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.

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