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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Sustainable Production, Profit, and Environmental Stewardship through Conservation Systems

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Title: Cover crops for Alabama

Authors
item Delaney, Dennis -
item Iversen, Kirk -
item Balkcom, Kipling
item Caylor, Arnold -

Submitted to: Extension Publications
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: February 18, 2014
Publication Date: March 3, 2014
Citation: Delaney, D.P., Iversen, K.V., Balkcom, K.S., Caylor, A.W. 2014. Cover crops for Alabama. ANR-2139. Alabama Cooperative Extension System. http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-2139/ANR-2139.pdf.

Interpretive Summary: Cover crops are grown to benefit the following crop as well as to improve the soil, but they are normally not intended for harvest. Selecting the right cover crops for farming operations can improve yields, soil and water conservation and quality, and economic productivity. Properly managed cover crops protect the soil surface from water and wind erosion and remediate soil compaction. Decomposed plant residue becomes soil organic matter that provides food for soil organisms—bacteria, fungi, arthropods, and others—and increases the water storage capacity of the soil. However, there are numerous cover crops to choose from and deciding which cover crop to use in order to maximize a particular benefit can be daunting for growers. This publication contains general agronomic information related to choosing cover crops for Alabama based on work conducted by ARS scientists and summarized by Auburn University extension specialists.

Technical Abstract: Cover crops are grown to benefit the following crop as well as to improve the soil, but they are normally not intended for harvest. Selecting the right cover crops for farming operations can improve yields, soil and water conservation and quality, and economic productivity. Properly managed cover crops protect the soil surface from water and wind erosion and remediate soil compaction. Decomposed plant residue becomes soil organic matter that provides food for soil organisms—bacteria, fungi, arthropods, and others—and increases the water storage capacity of the soil. However, there are numerous cover crops to choose from and deciding which cover crop to use in order to maximize a particular benefit can be daunting for growers. This publication contains general agronomic information related to choosing cover crops for Alabama.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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