Cover Crops Offer Sustainable Future

According to some farmers, cover crops and no-till farming are offering farmers and agricultural producers a more sustainable future, allowing them to maintain current production levels with less reliance on synthetic fertilizers.
While the Green Revolution (the technological advances in pesticides and fertilizers) helped significantly increase farm production and crop yields, many farmers are worried that these record harvests can’t last forever. Recent bouts of bad weather, pollution of waterways, and consistent soil erosion has led many farmers to consider more sustainable farm techniques.
Cover crops are one way that farmers have approached new forms of production. Planting cover crops can help increase soil nutrients (boosting the level of organic matters in soil and boosting soil fertility), can help manage weed growth (with many cover crops competing with invasive weeds), and boosting the health of waterways by reducing drainage and runoff that can contribute to phosphate and nitrate pollution.
“Our cover crops work together like a community—you have several people helping instead of one, and if one slows down, the others kind of pick it up,” said one Ohio farmer. “We’re trying to mimic Mother Nature.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer