Cover Crops and their benefits, both economic and environmental, are not a new concept to members and growers in Norfolk and the surrounding region. For decades they have been used on the light sandy soils of the region’s sand plain, specifically when tobacco was the primary crop grown here. As tobacco acreage has decreased, some of that void in acreage has been filled by other high value crops such as ginseng and vegetables, which also incorporate the use of cover crops but the majority of that acreage has been replaced by corn and soybeans. With increased land values, input costs, slimmer margins and a growing emphasis being placed on the environmental impacts of agriculture by all levels of government, cover cropping systems can offer the potential to help alleviate farm businesses from these challenges. Based on this members chose the use of cover crops in a cash crop rotation as one of the projects they wanted the NCSIA to further explore. With assistance from a Tier One Grant through the OSCIA and OMAFRA a committee was set up and a 3 year trial project to develop a framework for establishing practical implementation for growers in the area to incorporate cover crops into their existing crop management structure.

Read the entire report here: A Systems Approach to Cover Crops in a Rotation