soil health, erosion reduction, forages and weed suppression

Soil Health

Cover crops can increase organic matter, fix nitrogen, prevent nutrient loss and boost water infiltration – all of which benefit the cash crop that follows. When manure is combined into cover crop rotations, it further provides a slow release nitrogen source into cropping systems. By keeping nitrogen in an organic form, nitrate leaching into groundwater can be reduced up to 29%.

Erosion Reduction

Deep and interconnected roots of a cover crop hold soil in place and above ground vegetation absorbs the impact of raindrops, reducing erosion and loss of nutrients caused by torrential rainfall. Cover crops also reduce erosion in dry weather or during winter from strong winds. For some farmers using no-till, cover crops provide additional benefits and may be a way to boost yields in long-term no-till systems over time.

Forages

For some Nebraska farmers, cover crops can be used as a high-quality forage resource harvested by haying, grazing or ensiling. Some cover crops are ideal for filling grazing forage gaps when other pasture resources are limited.

Weed Suppression

Cover crops can help control weeds through competition (light, water, nutrients), physical suppression and allelopathy. Cover crops can also be an important tool in managing difficult-to-control weeds like Palmer amaranth and Marestail.

Cover crops provide many benefits for Nebraska farmers, and how farmers use them varies from region to region and farm to farm. IANR experts can share insight and ideas, as well as information on cropland lease arrangements and more.

Online Resource

cropwatch.unl.edu/cover-crops

Nebraska SARE
Interviews and recordings of Cover Crop and Soil Health Conferences

North Central SARE

Identifying Broad Benefits of Cover Crops

Cover Crops Virtual Experience Introduction

Soil Health Demostrations

Grazing And Prussic Acid Risks

Cover Crops in Soybeans

Interseeding Cover Crops With Steve Melvin

Cover Crops in Corn

Cover Crop Mixtures For Interseeded Cover Crops

Herbicide Selection For Interseeded Cover Crops

Interseeding Research

Dryland Cover Crops

Corn Management Studies To Improve Cover Crop Interseeding Success

Interseeding Cover Crops In Soybeans

Interview with Dan Hilger

Team Members

Gary Lesoing

Gary Lesoing
Extension Educator

Katja Koehler-Cole

Katja Koehler-Cole
Assistant Professor

Michael Sindelar

Michael Sindelar
Extension Educator

Steve Melvin

Steve Melvin
Extension Educator

Kat Caswell

Kat Caswell
Extension Educator

Jennifer Rees

Jennifer Rees
Extension Educator

Keith Glewen

Keith Glewen
Extension Educator

Sarah Sivits

Sarah Sivits
Extension Educator

Megan Taylor

Megan Taylor
Extension Educator

Randy Saner

Randy Saner
Extension Educator

Melissa Bartels

Melissa Bartels
Extension Educator

Daren Redfearn

Daren Redfearn
Extension Specialist

Mary Drewnoski

Mary Drewnoski
Extension Specialist

Paul Jasa

Paul Jasa
Extension Educator

Christopher Proctor

Christopher Proctor
Extension Specialist

Jerry Volesky

Jerry Volesky
Extension Specialist