Drive through the northern country side during chilly fall months and you will see large patches of green farm fields. What kind of plants can brave our harsh climate and still look so alive when the rest of the landscape has gone to sleep for the winter? Cover crops!
Farmers plant mixes of fast growing, cold hardy, grasses and clovers at the end of the growing season to hold the soil in place during the windy winter months and early spring rains. Leaves and stems lessen the impact of rain on bare soil, reducing erosion. Roots spread into the soil to provide food for beneficial microbes and other animal life until new crops are planted in the spring.
As temperatures warm and farmers are ready to start spring work, the rapidly growing cover crops help to dry soil so farmers can get to work in their fields.
Watch our video to learn more about cover cropping and keep your eye open for those bright green fields in the early spring.
Louise Calderwood works for the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance. For more information about NEAFA, visit their website.