Cover Crop Issues in Drought Years

Sep 27, 2023

Be sure to terminate cover crops before they use moisture the crops need.
For the last several [dry] years, Federated Agronomists have observed the effects of cover crops on soil moisture. Cover crops add nutrients to the soil but also draw out moisture that the crops need.
If the cover crops do not self-terminate, the problem is amplified if the cover crop isn’t terminated early enough. The further into spring that the cover crop grows – especially cereal rye – the greater the moisture impact on the upcoming crop.
This article from the U of MN Extension offers a wealth of information on this topic. Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager, noted the takeaway: “Terminate cover crops as soon as possible in the spring.” (Which is yet another reason to get as much field work done in the fall as possible – see articles on fall ag lime and fall fertilizer applications)
Talk to your Federated Agronomist with any questions on cover crops and soil moisture.

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