Showing posts from February, 2015

Cover Crop Benefits

Cover crops offer farmers many benefits including protecting soil from wind and water erosion. Live plants provide the energy for soil microbes to recycle and store nutrients to build soil carbon and organic matter. Soil microbes should be considered “soluble bags of fertilizer” since they consume and process 85-90% of chemical reactions involving soil nutrients. Cover crops and microbes together improve soil structure which improves water infiltration and water holding capacity. Cover crops may also reduce weed, insect, and soil disease pressures by adding diversity. Live plants and healthy soils purify and clean air and water. Soil erosion and sedimentation are major agricultural problems worldwide. Dr. David Montgomery (2012) says if farmers lose four to five tons/acre/year of topsoil (USDA-NRCS acceptable rate), they will lose approximately one inch of top soil every sixty years. Farmers are losing 0.5% of our soils every year worldwide due to soil erosion and it takes 500 years to