Planting Rye Cover Crop To Increase Water Holding Capacity

Interesting article here detailing how an Iowa farmer uses a Rye dominated cover crop to increase AWC (via organic matter).

It’s a good article but there are a couple of misleading points, at least I thought so. One was that “you’re going to need more Nitrogen.” While this is true in the initial transition from a conventional system, your N needs will decrease in the long run, maybe dramatically. That’s one of the big selling points of no-till with cover crop.

Another was the comment about bugs and suggesting that you’re going to need [more] insecticide. I’m not sure about this one. It may be another transition issue. Bugs may increase but their diversity also increases, meaning more “good” bugs are more prevalent also, balancing out the “bad” bugs and reducing the need for insecticide.

Feel free to chime in and set me straight on these issues.

About Chuck

Soil Scientist USDA/NRCS, Owner -
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