Incorporate cover crops on your market farm this year!
More hours of sunlight and warmer temperatures mean spring is on its way! If you are a produce farmer there’s a good chance you’ve already started your first seeds of the season or will do so in the very near future. It’s an exciting time of year! While we’re busy considering which cash crops to plant and when, we should also take some time to consider a cover crop plan for the season.
On our farm, we have several cover crop mixes we use that have shown many benefits for the land. From improved soil quality to reduced weed pressure to pollinator habitat and more, cover crops have helped our farm to be more profitable and more sustainable.
Our primary mixes are Albert Lea Seed’s SummerMax mix which includes a wide variety of species including soybean, sunhemp, millet, sudangrass and more. We also use a custom fall mix of either winter rye or oats, field peas, and phacelia. All of our mixes are broadcast seeded and lightly incorporated into the soil. We have always tried to focus on crops that take up a large amount of land as targets for cover crops since we would see the most benefit. Crops like sweet corn and potatoes are great places to target a cover crop as they take up a lot of space and also have a growing window that allows you to plant a cover crop and get its maximum benefits.
If you haven’t dabbled in cover cropping yet make 2022 the year you start! Do you have cover crop strategies that work on your small farm? Share them with us at email@example.com.