By: Anne Verhallen, Soil Management Specialist (Horticulture)
From ONvegetables in The Grower, December 2014
Cover crops have a lot of places where they can fit in horticultural crop rotations. Before late planted crops like pumpkins to provide weed suppression. After early harvested crops like peas or snap beans to cover and protect the soil while enhancing soil structure. After winter wheat to suppress resistant weeds in the rotation or as a part of the overall crop rotation to suppress nematodes in preparation for planting strawberries.
Looking for more details on how a cover crop can fit herbicide concerns or the basics on a particular cover crop species? There is an improved version of the Purdue Midwest Cover Crop Field Guide available now. The pocket guide, released Monday (Sept. 22), is produced by Purdue University and the Midwest Cover Crops Council. The first cover crops guide was released in February 2012. The updated guide is in response to the increasing interest in cover crops in the Midwest and to requests for additional information.
All this new information will help farmers better choose appropriate cover crops for their situation and better manage the cover crops they grow – all for greater potential benefit for their soils and cash crop growth,” said Eileen Kladivko, Purdue professor of agronomy.
The updated guide features seven new topics:
- Getting started in cover crops.
- Rationale for fitting cover crops into different cropping systems.
- Suggested cover crops for common rotations.
- Cover crop effects on cash crop yields.
- Climate considerations including winter hardiness and water use.
- Adapting seeding rates and spring management based on weather.
- “Up and coming” cover crops.
There also is more information about herbicide carryover, manure and biosolids applications, and crop insurance issues (note: US crop insurance issues). There has been a significant contribution from Ontario research to the new material, particularly in the area of herbicide carryover (Dr. Darren Robinson, University of Guelph- Ridgetown campus)
The guide’s second edition is available at Purdue Extension’s The Education Store at www.the-education-store.com. Search by the name of the publication or product code ID-433.
A link to a video clip of Purdue University agronomy professor Eileen Kladivko explaining the benefits of cover crops is available at http://youtu.be/2NIyQeZ8jxQ