© 2024 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

This Year's Weather Could Boost Success Of Cover Crops

If you have been debating on the idea of cover crops, this might be the year to give them a try.

Cover crops are planted after a harvest to enrich and protect the soil. Types of cover crops include cereal rye, wheat and ryegrass. Phillip Alberti is a Crop Science Educator with the University of Illinois Extension. He says cover crops are a great way to improve the overall health of farm fields.

"The goal of the cover crop is really to provide living roots underneath the ground and then ground cover on top of the soil," Alberti said. "And this is meant to help prevent soil erosion, conserve soil moisture, help protect water quality and overall soil health."

Alberti also says weather plays a huge role in whether cover crops will be successful. Farmers haven't seen their cash crops grow this quickly in more than 50 years, whick makes the weather ideal.

“You really want a good time period between when you plant and when the first frost hits to give you the benefits and really make it worth your while to plant them,” Alberti said. 

However, cover crops do have their own challenges. Alberti said having the right equipment, pesticides and timing are key to the success of cover crops.