Our cover crops are up and growing. They give splashes of fresh Spring green to our ripened landscape.
We planted this field in early August.
There is a mix of flax and barley growing here. It is not intended to produce a crop. Instead, it will use some of the excess surface moisture this Fall on ground that tends to be wet. The crop will form a root system to break up compaction. The plants will hold the soil from drifting during our frozen windy Winter.
We have also planted some fields with a cover crop of turnips, radishes and lentils.
These plants remind me of a Fall garden planted by someone who has not
realized how soon our season will change. Click Here to learn much more about cover crops in North Dakota.
In addition to benefits already mentioned, there is a theory that this mix will help bring nutrients up and make them readily available to the roots of our 2011 crops.
There was once a theory that trees would bring water up from deep in the ground. Click Here to learn more about the trees in GriggsDakota. That water theory was proven to be false. However, farmers and other optimists never gave up on helping nature make our ground richer and more productive.
The green fields have Cattleman Jim smiling, as the cover crop mix of turnips, radishes and lentils should provide forage when the cattle are taken off pasture. Cattle deposit manure into fields which enriches the soil. Although the cattle take some nutrients away by eating the vegetation on the fields, the digestion process makes the nutrients that remain in the manure more readily available to future plant growth on the field.
New research on cover crops seems to provide hope for improved farming practices.
Time will tell if these theories will work. They are certainly worth a try.
The fields look good in GriggsDakota.