COUNTY AG NEWS

Give your fields a little cover this winter

As the days get longer and the temperatures get warmer, everyone is starting to prepare for the spring planting. The question to think about is what is going to be done to the fields after this next fall harvest? The soil is important to take care of all year long and if you can make a difference by creating cover for over winter, wouldn’t you look into that option?

Cover crops offer a great opportunity to battle against soil erosion from wind and water. During the winter with no cover crops, you can chance losing almost 40 percent or more of your plant residue that would be protecting your fields in the spring during major rain storms. Cover crops offer the chance to increase soil cover almost completely and will help minimize soil erosion. Which in return will help increase soil depth due to the soil formation being greater than the soil erosion.

Creating a solid layer of organic matter in your soil will help tremendously for growing your crops, but you need to make the proper changes to insure you are saving that organic matter from soil erosion and decomposition. Organic matter has many benefits to your fields by increasing your soil fertility, creating stable and improved aggregation, and increasing the biological activity. The aggregation of the organic soil matter will create the opportunity for more pore space, increased water filtration and holding capacity, root growth, less runoff, and improve microbial activity.

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