With cover crops becoming increasingly important for farmers to provide nutrients and protect against erosion, different varieties are being developed to address specific needs.
At the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) CSS & Seed Expo in Chicago, I learned more about that from Risa DeMasi with Grassland Oregon, who issecond vice chairman of ASTA. “Our company is very involved with cover crop research…working on sustainability issues for the soil and for the farmer,” she said. “Our mission is to provide novel solutions for growing concerns of the growers today.”
Risa says there are a number of different types of cover crops that are best for achieving specific goals, whether that is addressing soil erosion, soil compaction, water or nutrient management, wildlife habitat – or all of the above. One variety they are particularly excited about is Balansa clover. “It provides a great amount of nitrogen,” said Risa. “It also creates very deep channels in the soil, so you get water availability when you want it and drainage when you don’t. It’s creating a lot of top growth so you get weed suppression. It also can create an environment of habitat for certain wildlife.”
ASTA is becoming more involved in the educational aspect of cover crops for all stakeholders, from policy makers in Washington to the farmers on the ground. Learn more in this interview: Interview with Risa DeMasi, Grassland Oregon
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