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By David Knopf/Richmond News
When Missouri Extension specialists Rich Hoormann and Charles Ellis spoke to a group of around 30 Northwest Missouri farmers April 1 near Rockport, their presentations on cover crops may or may not have changed a few customs.
But the fact is that more planters are being converted each year to year-round planting on acreage devoted to row crops or livestock grazing. The well-documented benefits – erosion reduction, weed control, nutrient recycling, soil loosening and water retention – are too great to ignore, even among the most skeptical Show Me farmers.
“Cover crops are where no-till planting was 20 years ago,” said Doug Peterson, a state soil-health conservationist with USDA who joined Hoormann, Ellis and Tim Reinbolt, superintendent of the Bradford Research and Extension Center at the Grower Cover Crop Field Event.
Just last week, agriculture writer David Burton reported on the benefits of cover crops and their justification in dollars and cents in the News-Leader, the Springfield newspaper and respected Ozarks news source.