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Cover Crops
Introduction <ul><li>Definitions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cover crop – a crop planted between main crops to prevent erosion ...
Legumes <ul><li>Able to “fix” nitrogen </li></ul><ul><li>Nitrogen in atmosphere unavailable for plant use </li></ul><ul><l...
The Industrial Model <ul><li>Crop planted in spring </li></ul><ul><li>Pesticides used to control insects and weeds </li></...
Benefits of Cover Crops <ul><li>Prevent Erosion </li></ul><ul><li>Improve soil quality </li></ul><ul><li>Suppress weeds </...
Prevent Erosion <ul><li>Roots hold topsoil in place </li></ul><ul><li>Water & wind strip topsoil from land </li></ul><ul><...
Improve Soil quality <ul><li>Root depth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deep rooted crops break through compacted subsoils – biologi...
Soil quality <ul><li>Soil Organic Matter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Replaces organic materials lost in cultivation </li></ul></...
Suppress Weeds <ul><li>Cover crops shade soil </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blocks sun to low-growing weeds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul...
Reduce Insect Problems <ul><li>Provides habitat for diverse insect populations </li></ul><ul><li>Increases the population ...
Prevent nutrient leaching <ul><li>Stops  phosphorus  pollution from sediment </li></ul><ul><li>Absorbs excess  nitrogen  f...
Cover crop models <ul><li>Winter cover crop </li></ul><ul><li>Summer green manure crop </li></ul><ul><li>Living mulch </li...
Cover Crop Model <ul><li>Winter cover crop </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Planted in fall – prevents erosion over the winter </li><...
Others <ul><li>Living mulch </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plant vegetables into clover beds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strips of g...
Killing cover crops <ul><li>Need to kill the cover crop before you can plant the main crop </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pesticide...
Buckwheat <ul><li>Legume </li></ul><ul><li>Roots very fibrous but not deep </li></ul><ul><li>Adds nitrogen to the soil </l...
Clovers <ul><li>Legumes </li></ul><ul><li>Live about 2 years </li></ul><ul><li>Plant in spring or fall </li></ul><ul><li>K...
Cowpeas, soybeans or field peas <ul><li>Legumes </li></ul><ul><li>Annual </li></ul><ul><li>Used to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>...
Sorghum/Sudan grass <ul><li>Very vigorous root growth </li></ul><ul><li>Used to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build soil </li></u...
Winter rye, wheat or oats <ul><li>Winter rye & wheat – grow during the winter </li></ul><ul><li>Oats and regular wheat gro...
Root boxes <ul><li>Plant your cover crop </li></ul><ul><li>Measure weekly: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vegetative height </li></...
Wrap - up <ul><li>What difference do you expect in the soil nitrogen levels after the crop is turned under? </li></ul><ul>...
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4 21 cover crops

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Transcript of "4 21 cover crops"

  1. 1. Cover Crops
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Definitions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cover crop – a crop planted between main crops to prevent erosion or to be plowed in to enrich the soil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Green Manure – a growing crop that is plowed in to enrich the soil </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The backbone of a sustainable crop system </li></ul>
  3. 3. Legumes <ul><li>Able to “fix” nitrogen </li></ul><ul><li>Nitrogen in atmosphere unavailable for plant use </li></ul><ul><li>Bacteria in nodules converts inert nitrogen to nitrates </li></ul><ul><li>Extra nitrogen fertilizer is not required </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: peas, beans, alfalfa & clovers </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Industrial Model <ul><li>Crop planted in spring </li></ul><ul><li>Pesticides used to control insects and weeds </li></ul><ul><li>Crop harvested in fall </li></ul><ul><li>Land left fallow in winter </li></ul><ul><li>Land fertilized in late winter </li></ul><ul><li>Land sprayed with herbicides in early spring </li></ul><ul><li>Crop planted in spring </li></ul>
  5. 5. Benefits of Cover Crops <ul><li>Prevent Erosion </li></ul><ul><li>Improve soil quality </li></ul><ul><li>Suppress weeds </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce insects </li></ul><ul><li>Prevent nutrient leaching </li></ul>
  6. 6. Prevent Erosion <ul><li>Roots hold topsoil in place </li></ul><ul><li>Water & wind strip topsoil from land </li></ul><ul><li>Sediment clogs waterways </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Major water pollution problem </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tillage exposes soil to erosion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use No-till techniques </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Improve Soil quality <ul><li>Root depth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deep rooted crops break through compacted subsoils – biological plow </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Soil aggregates </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decomposed organic material (humus) binds mineral portion of soil in stable aggregates </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Soil quality <ul><li>Soil Organic Matter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Replaces organic materials lost in cultivation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Soil Fertility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Roots of legumes returns fixed nitrogen to the soil </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Suppress Weeds <ul><li>Cover crops shade soil </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blocks sun to low-growing weeds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduces weed seed germination </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Residue left after harvest acts as mulch </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prevents weed seed contact with soil </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Allelopathy – some plant roots secrete natural toxins that slow the growth of competitor plants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Small grains like ryegrass & sorghum </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Reduce Insect Problems <ul><li>Provides habitat for diverse insect populations </li></ul><ul><li>Increases the population of “predator” bugs </li></ul>
  11. 11. Prevent nutrient leaching <ul><li>Stops phosphorus pollution from sediment </li></ul><ul><li>Absorbs excess nitrogen from fertilized crops and returns it in more stable form </li></ul>
  12. 12. Cover crop models <ul><li>Winter cover crop </li></ul><ul><li>Summer green manure crop </li></ul><ul><li>Living mulch </li></ul><ul><li>Catch Crop </li></ul><ul><li>Forage Crop </li></ul>
  13. 13. Cover Crop Model <ul><li>Winter cover crop </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Planted in fall – prevents erosion over the winter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legumes increase soil nitrogen for next summer’s crop </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Summer green manure crop </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plant in late winter - early spring and plow under </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increases soil organic matter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legumes add nitrogen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-legumes smother weeds </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Others <ul><li>Living mulch </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plant vegetables into clover beds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strips of grasses in alley ways between perennial crops </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Catch crop </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plant rye after corn to collect excess nitrogen </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Forage crop </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cover crop grown for grazing </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Killing cover crops <ul><li>Need to kill the cover crop before you can plant the main crop </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pesticide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Glyphosate (Round-up) kills all plant material </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mowing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mowing at proper stage prevents regrowth </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Crimping </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stalks are bent down and cracked </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Winter kills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Annual cover crops are killed by frost </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Buckwheat <ul><li>Legume </li></ul><ul><li>Roots very fibrous but not deep </li></ul><ul><li>Adds nitrogen to the soil </li></ul><ul><li>Plant in spring or fall </li></ul><ul><li>Used to fight weeds </li></ul>
  17. 17. Clovers <ul><li>Legumes </li></ul><ul><li>Live about 2 years </li></ul><ul><li>Plant in spring or fall </li></ul><ul><li>Kill & turn under 4 weeks before planting crop </li></ul><ul><li>Used to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Add nitrogen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build soil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resist erosion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fight weeds </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Cowpeas, soybeans or field peas <ul><li>Legumes </li></ul><ul><li>Annual </li></ul><ul><li>Used to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>control erosion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build soil nitrogen </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Sorghum/Sudan grass <ul><li>Very vigorous root growth </li></ul><ul><li>Used to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build soil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Loosen subsoil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fight pests </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Winter rye, wheat or oats <ul><li>Winter rye & wheat – grow during the winter </li></ul><ul><li>Oats and regular wheat grow in spring and fall </li></ul><ul><li>Annuals (die every year) </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive root system </li></ul><ul><li>Grow rapidly in proper season </li></ul><ul><li>Build soil, fight weeds and pests </li></ul>
  21. 21. Root boxes <ul><li>Plant your cover crop </li></ul><ul><li>Measure weekly: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vegetative height </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Root depth </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Wrap - up <ul><li>What difference do you expect in the soil nitrogen levels after the crop is turned under? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you expect to change when we test the soil again in June? </li></ul><ul><li>Which plant root structures will penetrate the deepest in the boxes?   </li></ul><ul><li>How can you protect your garden soil from erosion? </li></ul>
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