Finding the Right Mix: Multifunctional Cover Crop Cocktails for Organic Systems
A six-species cover crop cocktail established following small-grains harvest, photographed on Oct 26, 2012.
From our ongoing research, we have developed four recommendations for managing weeds, insects, nitrogen, and cover crop mixtures in general:
Overall: Aim for balanced biomass from all species in the mix to benefit from a range of functions
Weeds: Have 1-2 species that provide fast ground-cover in the fall, then add species to achieve other goals.
Insects: To support beneficial insects for pollination or biological control, manage mixtures to include flowers.
Nitrogen: Combine a well-adapted legume with a low seeding rate of a winterhardy grass or brassica.
These are outcomes from an organic corn-soy-wheat crop rotation in Pennsylvania. For more information, please follow the links below.