In the previous blog I talk about how we are starting to use cover crop in 2013. Why use cover crops?
The goal of cover crops is to have something growing on the acres 365 days a year. When the something is growing, the soil is healthier. My goal is to no-till these acres. All the research I have done says that a soil with cover crops and no-tilled is a healthier, more productive soil. We have some of the best soils in the world, why try to make it healthier? As someone once told me: “have you every heard someone say there soil is TOO healthy?”
Sustainability! As I stated earlier, the cover crops scavenge nutrients unused by the cash crops. Since these nutrients that are sucked up and stored in the cover crop, they are less likely to be leached out of the soil. There have been a lot of talk of the “dead zone” in the Mississippi Delta, nitrate levels in the water supply, and other water shed clean ups, using cover crops will reduce the amount of run off of nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients into the water supply. Planting cover crops is good stewardship.
Prevent soil erosion. With something growing on the soil, the soil will not wash and blow away as easy as soil that is bare. Good top soil is the most important natural resource we have! With a cover crop, we are allowing futures farmers to use some of the best soil in the world, just like the generations today are blessed to be able to make a living off of.
Increase micro organism activity in the soil. When the micro “critters” are active, they need something to feed on, when the soil is bare, they die or very inactive. Also, tillage will effect the micro organism and kill some of them. So a soil that is covered, and no tilled, will have increase activity in the soil and more nutrients are available for the cash crop.
In the next blog I will talk about the main reason for this major change in our operation, economics!