Grass Cover Crop Field

Rejuvenate Your Soils With Grasses

Grass cover crops including annual cereals, forage grasses, and warm-season grasses are versatile in their benefits and form the foundation of most cover crop programs within the soil health community. The extensive root systems of grasses are especially adept at scavenging nutrients (including nitrogen) and preventing erosion. Large amounts of residue remaining after termination will add organic matter to the soil. Crops with large amounts of fall residue, such as cereal rye, may have high C: N ratios that can cause nitrogen deficiency for subsequent crops. Proper management is crucial to avoid setbacks to the cash crop. Early termination, supplemental nitrogen, proper seeding of cash crops, and mixing grasses with legumes and/or brassicas can be beneficial.