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Cover Crops and Conservation--CTIC

The use of cover crops is steadily increasing throughout the United States. Many no-till farmers consider cover crops to be the next step in conservation agriculture. Leaving the soil undisturbed and keeping something growing as many days as possible restores the natural cycle of the soil. Residues and roots create more organic matter in the soil. Increased organic matter serves as a food source to various soil organisms and increases the biological activity. Higher biological activity increases nutrient cycling and availability and also reduces nutrient loss due to runoff. With all this activity, soil structure and tilth are improved, increasing infiltration rates and reducing compaction. The Conservation Technology Information Center offers a variety of cover crops resources on their website.