Nebraska Extension, NRCS and the cover crop industry in Nebraska have worked to develop a cover crop selector tool specifically just for Nebraska. A team of Nebraska Extension Specialists, Extension Educators, NRCS staff and cover crop industry consultants spent a year developing this cover crop selector tool. The tool was completed, but issues in completing the required programming for the tool delayed release of the tool until now. Farmers, ag consultants, Extension Educators or Extension Specialists can plug in 3 specific attributes they want for a cover crop and the tool will provide a rating of 1-4 for the cover crops for these specific attributes. The user can then click on the cover crop and learn specific information, i.e. planting rates and timing, termination methods and timing, advantages and disadvantages of the cover crop. The tool rates attributes such as: nitrogen source, nitrogen scavenger, soil building, erosion fighter, weed fighter, good grazing, quick growth, lasting residue and winter survivability. With information provided, selector tool users can determine the cover crop suited for their specific purpose.
The development of this tool was led by Dr. Dean Baas from Michigan State University and Anna Morrow from Purdue University, who also works for the Midwest Cover Crop Council. Through a series of Zoom meetings and one face-to-face meeting with over 20 team members from Nebraska, the tool was developed. Dean has led most of the states within the Midwest Cover Crop Council through this process of the cover crop selector tool development. The tool can be accessed on the Midwest Cover Crop Council website at: http://mccc.msu.edu/covercroptool/covercroptool.php .
Nebraska Extension has been a member of the Midwest Cover Crop Council the past five years. Gary Lesoing-Extension Educator and Nebraska State SARE Coordinator represents Nebraska on the Boardof Directors. The Midwest Cover Crop Council has a number of excellent resources. It can be accessed at: http://mccc.msu.edu/ . The “Midwest Cover Crop Field Guide” is an excellent pocket guide for cover crops that many farmers have been utilizing in Nebraska and across the Midwest. Just recently several states have developed Cover Crop Recipes for beginning cover crop users. Nebraska will have two new cover crop recipes coming out in the very near future and more later this year.