The global food system is a complex latticework that entails several challenges, including providing enough food for the growing population and safeguarding the environment. Common problems, such as poor soil fertility, weeds, pests, soil erosion, etc., further fuel the challenges.
Praise be to God for the practice of cover cropping that serves as a perfect solution for all these challenges.
Cover crops are known to boost the yield, improve soil fertility through nitrogen fixing and scavenging, arrest erosion, inhibit soil compaction and crusting by water infiltration and retention, improve soil aeration, enhance soil structure, control pests, suppress weeds, and more.
These are the reasons cover cropping has been a desirable practice for agriculturists to replenish overworked fields for many centuries.
If you are also considering sowing cover crops, prepare to yield an impressive quantity and quality of cash crops later. However, to ensure it you need to take care of a few things. Keep reading to know how to turn your cover crops into success.
- Understand your goals
When you are clear about what you want from your cover crops, it gets easier to attain that. Before you move on to plant cover crops, understand your goals.
Do you want to reduce erosion?
Do you want to improve soil fertility?
Is soil compaction bothering you?
It is necessary to determine the choice of your cover crop. Once you know the real motive behind your stance, buy cover crop seeds that could help you achieve multiple goals.
- What would be your next cash crop?
The entire lattice of farming is interconnected. So, your choice of the cover crop will largely affect the outcome of your consecutive cash crop.
Select a cover crop that could reinforce the success of your cash crop.
- Determine the right time and method to seed your cover crop
Sowing the seeds at the right time is paramount to assure the success of your cover crop. You need to give the crop ample time to flourish before the change in the weather could ruin the game.
One of the most important things to keep in mind before planting covers post a harvest is the average harvest completion time of the cover crop.
Also, choosing the planting method beforehand is always helpful. You can select from various measures such as using a drill (it gives a better seed-to-soil contact), broadcast seeding with a spinner, airflow for broadcast, and more.
- Plan the termination method beforehand
Not only is it important to figure out the method of planting the cover crop seeds, but it is also essential to plan the method of terminating the cover crop beforehand. Find out what is the optimum method of a successful termination keeping in mind the weather conditions.
The options at your hands include crimping, tillage, chemical burndown, and more.
- Leave check strips
Planting the cover crops and harvesting them before your next cash crop is of no use if you stay vary of how your soil is reacting to this drill. And the best way to find out whether or not cover cropping is helping you is by leaving some check strips.
Leaving spaces with no cover crops will help you to evaluate the change in your soil and cash crops due to cover crops.
Cover crops have always been a hero among large-scale farmers as well as hobbyist gardeners. Although these crops aren’t grown with the motive of filling your dining tables, being prudent with them is paramount.
We hope these tips will help you make your first yield of cover crop successful.