A cover crop is a crop that a farmer plants in between/after their cash crop has been harvested. The cover crop manages soil erosion, soil fertility, soil quality, water, weeds, pests, diseases, biodiversity and wildlife in an agro-ecosystem. When properly managed, cover crops can help in the battle against climate change and potentially improve the efficiency of animal agriculture.
Many conventional farmers today are not using cover crops. As a result, the nutrients in their soil are drastically depleted. They then resort to spreading massive amounts of fertilizer year after year.
What's so bad about fertilizer? It can't be contained.
It eventually ends up in streams, rivers, oceans. If you take a moment to read this article, you'll see how it's traveling from corn and soy farms in the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico, where it's caused a swath of the Gulf to be "virtually devoid of life because algae blooms have choked out marine plants and animals".
The cover crop is essential in so many ways but many of these farmers refuse to use it because their bottom line would take too much of a hit. At our grass-fed and pastured livestock operation, it makes sense. We use covers every year. They help keep roots in the soil year round and allow us to omit using herbicides the following spring because those cover crops that were planted out compete with the weeds if we let the field sit. Then, when we harvest that cover crop in the spring, we follow it with a sterile corn. These two crops mixed together provide a perfect carbohydrate-protein blend for the animals.
Want to learn more about cover crops and our products? Meet us at the Hoboken Market on Saturdays or contact me with your questions:
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