U of Mich. Tim Harrigan Pushes Cover Crops and Manure for Soil Quality


You can’t till, nor can you no-till your way out of a soil quality problem, says Tim Harrigan with Michigan State University Extension. Additional organic inputs such as crop residue, manure and cover crops are needed to increase organic matter and water holding capacity, improve aggregate stability and water infiltration and build soil quality in many other ways.

Cropping systems that reduce tillage intensity, incorporate cover crops when practical and make efficient use of manure or other organic inputs in the crop rotation can build soil quality and productivity and protect the environment in many ways. Low-disturbance tillage and soil conservation practices that stabilize soil will keep nutrients in the root zone and protect surface waters from runoff and sedimentation. Cover crops trap and recycle crop nutrients and filter contaminants in runoff. They also increase water infiltration compared to soil without cover crops.

Michigan State University Extension is cooperating with Blight Farms near Albion, Bloom Dairy near Coldwater, and Baker Lad’s Farm near Adrian to demonstrate and evaluate efficient and effective ways to incorporate manure and cover crops in modern cropping systems.  At Blight Farms, they have seeded cereal rye, annual ryegrass, forage turnips, oats and oil seed radish with swine manure after wheat harvest with excellent results.

Click here for the entire article in Agri-VIew today.

Click here for a short video of the seeding process and the resulting cover crops.

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