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Cover Crops in Organic Farming

The use of cover crops is a technique adopted widely throughout the organic farming community. Cover crops are an important part of any soil health management plan, adding valuable nutrients to the soil and suppressing weeds in certain crops. While cover crops are a must have in no till farming practice, they can be highly valuable to farmers who rely heavily on mechanical weed control.

The advantages of using cover crops in organic farming:

  • Protect from soil erosion and nutrient loss 
  • Enhance water availability
  • Pest and disease control
  • Increase overall soil biodiversity
  • Weed reduction

The Advantages of Using Cover Crops in Organic Farming

The reasons for the use of cover crops are wide and organic and farmers that follow sustainable ag practices get value out of these non cash producing crops. 

Protect from soil erosion and nutrient loss

In situations where a farmer is working on hilly ground or in situations where the threat of erosion is high, cover crops can offer a significant advantage in the reduction of soil erosion. 

Enhance water availability

Pest and disease control

Increase overall soil biodiversity

Weed reduction

How To Use Cover Crops in Organic Farming

For farmers who practice mainly no till farming, cover crops are a must have piece of the puzzle. 

On the other side of the equation, farmers who do not practice no till farming and use mainly other methods of organic weed control, like tine weeders and cultivators, can still get a large benefit from the use of cover crops. 

 

Types of Cover Crops Used in Organic Farming

The most common types of cover crops include: 

  • Alfalfa
  • Mustard
  • Rye
  • Clovers
  • Buckwheat
  • Cowpeas
  • Radish
  • Vetch
  • Sudan Grass
  • Austrian Winter Peas 

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