Farmers extol long-term benefits of cover crops

Tighter crop margins this year won’t deter Washington County farmer Steve Berger from planting cover crops, just as he has done for more than a decade.

The long-term benefits of cover crops far outweigh the up-front seeding costs, said Berger, who has been planting cover crops for about 14 years to slow erosion and build soil organic matter. Pounding spring rains the past couple of years have formed gullies and washed out grass waterways on unprotected fields, while the soil has stayed put in his cover crop fields, Berger said last week during a cover crop workshop at the Iowa Power Farming Show in Des Moines.

"If I had just one slide to show you why we use cover...

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