In the recent years, cover crops have risen to a great extent in terms of recognition, use and importance among many farmers. This is informed by the fact that they are good tools of retaining the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in farms.
This is further bolstered by numerous research that continue to indicate that cover crops have the ability to curb the eroding of soil, help in the building of nutrients, promote soil health and even help with the control and reduction of weeds.
However, before going ahead and introducing them onto your farm, there are serious adjustments and restructuring that you will need to undergo and implement. One such adjustment is the area of timing. You will have to change when you till your farm, when you apply nutrients, when you apply weed removing chemicals among many others. Additionally, you may be required to change how you prioritize things on your farm. Below are some of the key factors to consider as you introduce cover crops onto your farm:
All things begin small and from there they become bigger. Start at a level that you can effectively manage as you learn along the way. Make sure that you begin the practice on a smaller parcel of land that you can easily monitor throughout all the four seasons of the year.
Knowledge is power, get it
Take the initiative to learn all that you need in order to become a proficient farmer in cover crop matters. Take time with other farmers during field days and learn from their experiences as well as the insights of the trainers at such forums. Take and make time to carry out personal research so that you can know which crops are best suited for your particular local climate and which season of the year those crops grow and yield best.
Species and seed selection
Make sure that you select the seeds you will plant early enough. This will give you enough time to make adequate preparations for planting and also selecting an alternative for a particular seed just in case such a change becomes necessary. The selection process should be informed by factors such as the purpose of the crop, its life cycle from planting to termination and also the current crops growing on the farm.
Timing of seeding
Seeding timing is a key consideration in all crop matters and it is influenced and determined by a number of factors. When it comes to cover crops, this timing will be determined by the species of the crop, the method used in its planting and the timing dates of fall and frost.
The rates of cover crop seeding
These rates are subject to adjustments. Such adjustments are based on a variety of factors that range from the species chosen for planting, to the timing of planting the crop and also the planting method involved.
Cover crop termination during spring
It is a little bit challenging to terminate winter-resistant cover crops. For instance, terminating grass cover crops requires a 2-week allowance before corn is planted and 2 days before the planting of soybean respectively.