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Cover crops

Cover crops are grown outside of the cash crop growing season, usually seeded in the fall and killed before spring planting.

Keeping living roots in the ground year-round can improve water management, soil protection and nutrient scavenging, but they need to be given the same attention as a cash crop to ensure success.

Try cover crops on a small scale at first, and look into cost-share from state and local governments. 

Some of the best opportunities are with early-harvested cash crops like corn silage, small grains, and canning crops like beans and peas, as you’ll get more vigorous fall growth if you plant in late summer and early fall.

In fields where wheat was just harvested, simply allowing the wheat to reseed itself without tilling the land would work as a cover crop. But cover crops can work with standard corn-soybean rotations as well.

Minnesota cover crop recipes

For a quick way to get started, Minnesota cover crop recipes provide step-by-step guidance to some of the lowest-risk starting points for cover crops. These recipes don’t cover all possibilities, but they can help beginners get most pieces in place to incorporate cover crops into a farm operation.

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