Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cover Crops Emerge

New green growth on the plains of GriggsDakota? It has become part of the seasonal routine around here.
 The cover crops are emerging. Cover crops are planted after our main crop is harvested and with no hope of harvesting a crop. They are planted to improve soil health and reduce erosion.
 This year we planted a mixture of turnips, radishes, and soybeans. The radishes are Tillage Radishes that can grow deep into the soil to reduce compaction. The turnips' ball roots are also useful in softening  soil tension.
In the low areas of the fields, the turnips and radishes are flourishing. We hope they will take excess moisture from these area and make the ground here more likely to produce a crop next season. 
On the higher ground, the soybeans are most visible. 
 A cover crop is not a crop that we intend to harvest and grows just until the ground freezes. The roots from cover crops hold soil in place as the wind blows through the Winter. They will continue to guard the soil as the temperature warm and the snow melt runs off the fields in the Spring.
The foreground of the photo above is very wet ground. The cover crop is growing better here. In the middle of the photo you can see an area where the barley is thicker. 
 The barley is itself a cover crop. We add the turnips, radishes and soybeans to help feed soil microbes.
Spring green on October first is a welcome sight in GriggsDakota.

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