If you plant a warm-season cover crop mix in the summer, you have the opportunity to select species that will meet your specific goals; i.e. Further, the vetch can reduce economic risk and usually will be more profitable than no-till corn after a winter wheat cover crop (1993 data). Winter covers will not have accumulated maximum biomass or nitrogen when terminated in late February or early March, which somewhat limits the benefits of cover crops in corn production. A corn>rye>soybeans> wheat>hairy vetch rotation that has reduced pesticide costs is at least as profitable as conventional grain rotations without cover crops, a study in southeastern Pennsylvania shows (174). Cover crop biomass good for more than just conservation The major concern surrounding cover crops is soil water use and return on investment, DeLaune said. They also help address community health and ecological concerns arising from nonpoint source pollution attributed to farming activities. Combining conservation practice, such as no-tillage, with winter cover crops may increase microbial activity and enhance soil quality more than either practice alone. Having winter-hardy species in the mixture will help to maintain cover crop benefits throughout the winter and into the spring. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2014.07.010. Most of the benefits of using legume winter cover crops for corn have been attributed to increased levels of soil N following the legume, due to N2 This observation led to a policy proposal to change the goal of US public research policy from enhancing yield to “growing 2 commercial crops … When most people think of cover crops, they think of the plants that they grow in their gardens to suppress weeds and fix nutrients over the long winter months. Don’t limit your calculations, however, to the target cover crop benefit. A winter wheat – soybean double crop rotation may generate environmental benefits while enhancing economic returns per acre. Other benefits reducing pollution, erosion and weed and insect pressure may be difficult to quantify or may not appear in your financial statements. This natural fertility input alone can justify cover crop use. ScienceDirect ® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V. ScienceDirect ® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V. Benefits of winter cover crops and no-tillage for microbial parameters in a Brazilian Oxisol: A long-term study. Mean corn grain yield following these legumes was 163 bu./A for red clover and 167 bu./A for hairy vetch, compared with a no legume/no N fertilizer yield of 134 bu./A (400). Break Soil Compaction on winter cover crops such as winter rye and hairy vetch, used in grain cropping systems. Case studies of farmers from across the country provide inspiring examples of how soil—and whole […] Winter cover crops are used to minimize soil erosion, to promote nutrient recycling, and to produce soil cover, which prevents water loss and increases soil organic C and biological activity (Calegari et al., 2008, Bolliger et al., 2006). Most widely-used cover crop in the Midwest. Cover crops can: Cut fertilizer costs by contributing N to cash crops and by scavenging and mining soil nutrients. Building Soils for Better Crops is a one-of-a-kind, practical guide to ecological soil management, now expanded and in full color. One example of a successful mixture with complementary growth periods is oats (Avena sativa), crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum), and annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum). Cover crops grown in summer are often used to fill in space during crop rotations, help amend the soil, or suppress weeds.