Farming Forward: Exploring the why of cover crops


It seems that everywhere you go right now, farmers are talking about cover crops. Producers across the country are not only using a diverse plant mix to provide feed for livestock, but also as potential solutions to compaction, a lack of nutrient availability, and to address weed issues in their fields.

In this Farming Forward episode, Dr. Kris Nichols, a soil microbiologist with Food Water Wellness Foundation, dives into the reasons why producers have been getting excited about diverse plant mixtures.

In a cover crop mixture, a diversity of roots gives a diversity of root architecture and sizes, allowing the plants to access different areas within the soil profile, reaching water and nutrients that they might not be able to reach in a monoculture. The diversity in plant types above ground create a huge soil food web and network below ground.

Nichols also offers some common sense suggestions on how to get the most out of cover crop selection, field choice, and matching the cover crop strategy to the field-level problem.

Farming Forward is a video series brought to you by Farmers for Climate Solutions’ Farm Resilience Mentorship Program and the Farm Learning Hub. Visit the hub to learn more about events in your area and to access more resources about building soil health.

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