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Uncovering cover crops

Cover crops have been a hot topic in Midwestern agriculture for the last couple of years. And, for good reason; a growing number of farmers say they're seeing their soils and crop yields benefit from adding cover crops into their crop rotations.

Here are some of our editors' latest stories and features on cover crops, from their basic soil benefits and just how many acres are out there, to how they can become a larger part of your crop mix.

Cover crops paying off, survey shows

Cover crops work. That's the message from the results of a recent study released this week. Last year's drought gutted corn and soybean yields. But that yield hammer was much lighter on those crop acres that were preceded by a cover crop. The study sought opinions from more than 750 farmers in the Corn Belt on cover crops, how widely they're adopted, their payback, and challenges.

Cover crops have tremendous benefits to the soil and the crops grown in it. Check out this feature showing some of the biological processes and elements influenced by cover crops.

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Soil-saving systems

A little crop residue goes a long way, especially in a year when drought has turned otherwise good soils to dust. That's exactly what's happening around Almena, Kansas, where Michael Thompson raises wheat, soybeans, and corn in conventional tillage and no-till systems.

 

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