Cover Crop Management
Looking for an innovative way to boost soil health and fertility on your farm? Cover cropping is for you! Cover crops are used to build soil fertility and organic matter, keep soil in place, and manage compaction, field moisture, weeds, pests and disease. Contact our farm team to lean how we're collaborating with and supporting farmers to apply the latest cover crop research to our regional farming systems. Below are links to our favorite technical guides and regional cover crop initiatives-- see our farm publications resource page to access a more extensive list!
COVER CROP RESOURCES
Regional Cover Crop Resources
- WSU Puyallup Organic Farming Systems and Nutrient Management Program - Cover Crops - access information on past and current cover crop trials and other publications out of WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center
- Reduced Tillage with Cover Crops - see various methods of cover crop termination in action
- Reduced Tillage in Organic Production - see one strip tillage method using cover crops
- On-Farm Summer Cover Crop Research - evaluate combinations of buckwheat, sudangrass and clover mixes
- No-Till Cover Crop Seeding in Organic Vegetable Systems - compare cover crop success in tilled vs. no-till systems
- Organic Reduced Tillage in the Maritime Pacific Northwest Symposium - regional farmers and researchers explore a range of no-till and tarping techniques using cover crops
- 2019 Cover Crop Roundtable - regional farmers and researchers convene to present cover crop work and network
- 2020 Cover Crop Roundtable
- Cover Crops for Home Gardens West of the Cascades - a resource also applicable to the farm scale focusing on choosing the best cover crops for Washington and Oregon, west of the Cascades
- Methods for Successful Cover Crop Management in Your Home Garden - a resource also applicable to the farm scale focusing on on methods for managing garden cover crops, including planning, planting, managing nutrients, and terminating plants
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Adaptation of 59 Cover Crop Cultivars in Western Oregon - The USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center in Corvallis, Oregon participated in a 3-year trial with other PMCs across the country to evaluate the adaptation and growth potential of common, commercially available cover crop species and cultivars.
- Warm Season Cover Crops for Western Oregon - The USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center in Corvallis, Oregon completed a study to evaluate commercially available summer cover crops for the Willamette Valley of western Oregon
- Cover Crop Resources and Seed Vendors for Oregon and Washington
- Cover Crop (340) in Organic Systems - An overview of how cover crops are integrated into organic operations, covers crop choice, field preparation, termination and overviews of various working cover crop systems
General Cover Crop Resources
- SARE Cover Crops Topic Room - an exhaustive resource for all things cover crop-- publications, project summaries and producer videos are just some of the many resources accessible through this site!
- Managing Cover Crops Profitably - explores how and why cover crops work, and provides all the information needed to build cover crops into any farming operation, along with detailed management information on the most commonly used species and these helpful Cover Crop Charts
To stay up to date on the latest cover crop research, workshops, and networking opportunities, visit the new Western Cover Crop Council website here.
COVER CROP FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
In partnership with the Pierce County Agriculture Program, PCD is offering 75% cost share, up to $150/acre, for cover crop seedings in 2021! Eligible expenses include seed, inoculant, fertilizer, labor and equipment rental for establishing cover crops. Steps to access this program are:
1. Contact your PCD farm specialist to develop a cover cropping plan that fits your production goals and site conditions.
2. Seed your cover crop based on the plan developed to receive your cost share reimbursement upon completion.
3. Share what you learn and help us to better assist our farming community! Complete a short evaluation form after you terminate your cover crop planting to capture successes and lessons learned.
Visit our farm improvement financial assistance page for more information and to learn about our other financial assistance opportunities.
MANAGE COVER CROPS WITH OUR NO-TILL SEED DRILL AND FLAIL MOWER!
Make seeding cover crops a cinch by utilizing our pull-type no-till seed drill. At a 6 ft working width with optional capacities for native grass and small seeds, the drill is ideal for any cover crop or pasture renovation application if you have a minimum 40 HP tractor. We also have a flail mower available as an option for terminating cover crops and leaving residue evenly chopped and distributed. Visit our farm services and equipment page for more information and see other equipment available to rent or borrow.