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Drought creates a swell of attention for cover crops, soil health

Cover crops help retain moisture and nutrients during the offseason between crops, experts says. They’ve become a hot topic in light of issues created by the drought. (Photo courtesy UC Master Gardeners blog)

Cover crops help retain moisture and nutrients during the offseason between crops, experts says. They’ve become a hot topic in light of issues created by the drought. (Photo courtesy UC Master Gardeners blog)

By David Knopf/Richmond News

If there’s such a thing as a big sensation in agriculture – we’re guessing there is since there’s one in everything from military hardware to the length of women’s skirts – in 2013 Missouri it would have to be cover crops.

Cover crops have been around a long, long time, but recent drought conditions and the desirability of retaining moisture and nutrients have put them in the limelight.

In the last week, notices of three programs about cover crops and their benefits have crossed our desks here at the Richmond News. On Wednesday, for example, the Caldwell and Ray County Soil and Conservation District will lead a four-hour bus tour of several farms in the area that have planted cover crops.

On Friday, the newspaper learned of two more -– Missouri Extension programs April 1 at the Graves Chappell Research Center in Holt County and April 2 at the Hundley-Whaley Research Center in Albany.

(You’ll find more information about all three programs at the end of the article.)

Tim Reinbott, superintendent of the University of Missouri Bradford Research Center, issued a notice recently outlining the benefits to soil of having plant growth in fields year-round.

 

 

Click here for our E-edition and read the rest of the story.

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