6 Benefits of Cover Crops
The cultivation of cover crops is gaining popularity in the agricultural community. While not directly sold for cash, these crops have proven beneficial – to farmers’ fields and their bottom lines. In fact, American farmers reportedly planted over 15 million acres of cover crops in 2017 – a staggering 50% increase over 2012.
To prove that cover crops are more than just a passing trend, our experienced team at Mixon Seed Service has identified these 6 benefits:
1. Healthy Soil
The new growth encourages microorganism production, creating rich, healthy soil that sets the stage for your next cash crop. Cover crops, the most popular being rye and winter wheat, also help with soil temperature regulation.
2. Weed & Pest Control
With minimum maintenance, cover crops help block unwanted intruders, such as weeds, insects, nematodes and disease. This not only saves time and hassle, but minimizes the cost of pesticides – and the chemical exposure that results.
3. Flooding Recovery & Erosion Prevention
Cover crops help soil recover from less-than-ideal conditions or major weather events, such as flooding. They also encourage a higher water holding capacity, thereby reducing the risk of erosion in the future.
4. Increased Flexibility
Because there are so many types of cover crops, farmers enjoy the flexibility to choose the variety that suits their schedule. Depending on your region and planting strategy, choose from winter-kill crops, feed-friendly crops and more.
5. Financial Incentives
To promote the planting of cover crops, many federal, state and private organizations offer financial benefits. In 2018, about 1/3 of cover crop acreage received financial assistance. During that same fiscal year, the USDA’s Environment Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funneled $155 million in planned payments toward 2 million acres of cover crops. Also, farmers enduring weather or field conditions that kept them from planting a successful cash crop can still plant an FSA-certified cover crop without losing eligibility for MFP payments.
6. Nitrogen Run-Off Prevention
Cover crops utilize the nitrogen left in the topsoil post-harvest so that it does not run off into nearby bodies of water, making them a welcome addition to your planting rotation.
To learn more about the benefits of cover crops, contact one of our seed experts today!
SC Office: (803) 531 – 1777
GA Office: (229) 734 – 5466