What can prevent soil erosion, improve the nutrient cycling, sustain the soils and protect the environment?
For some producers in Hewitt Creek Watershed, answering that question involves a return to an old practice — cover crops. Cover crops and the other incentive practices are part of an effort to improve both farm management and water quality in the watershed.
Winter rye captures excess nitrogen (N) from the soil and holds it in the plant structure. When the rye dies or is killed with an application of Roundup, the N is released back into the soil, near the top to become available to the next crop and the root structure of the rye becomes part of the soil.
The photos below were taken November 1, 2012.
Follow up photos taken November 30, following a killing frost.
Cover crops emerged the following spring. Photos taken May 7, 2013.