Jack Rabin (CC ’78), NJAES director of farm programs, shares “Farm Calls” on the Sustainable Farming on the Urban Fringe blog. A picture is worth a thousand words in this post on cover crops.
This fall, a leading Jersey vegetable grower asked, “What’s with all the recent media hype about cover crops? I’m getting ads, USDA NRCS promotions and trade magazine articles about something we already know all about.”
He’s not alone in holding this opinion; ag agents have come to similar conclusions. “We know about cover crops. Farmers know about cover crops. Cover crops have been researched, demonstrated, and their costs and benefits established for over a century. There’s nothing innovative for growers and nothing new to teach.”
The thing is, many growers haven’t adopted cover crops. For example, take the fields I came across while driving down to a recent meeting. Who can resist checking out other farmers’ fields while traveling, whether it’s your neighbor down the road or fields far from home? On this detour, there were hundreds of acres seeded with a cover crop mix of cereal rye and oilseed radish (aka tillage radish). But, something caught my eye so I stopped to take a look. [Read more…]