Have you ever thought of having a cover crop on your field, but didn’t have the tools to figure out which crop would work best for your needs?
Michigan State University (MSU) Extension and the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) teamed up to release an online tool that assists farmers in deciding what cover crops will benefit their row crop rotation.
“The MCCC hopes the cover crop selector tool will encourage the use of cover crops by providing the information and decision-making help necessary for farmers to successfully use cover crops in their cropping systems,” says Dean Baas, of the MSU Extension/W. K. Kellogg Biological Station Land and Water Unit.
The MCCC Cover Crop Decision Tool is an initiative by the MCCC to consolidate cover crop information by state or province to help farmers make cover crop selections at the county level. A team of cover crop experts including university researchers, Extension educators, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) personnel, state departments of agriculture department personnel, crop advisors, seed suppliers and farmers develop information for each state or province.
A user selects his or her state or province and county. Users can also give information on their cash crops including planting and harvest dates, field information such as the soil drainage class, artificial drainage or flooding, and desired cover crop benefits.
Designed to be user friendly, it has a dynamic interface that allows users to immediately see how their input changes their cover crop options. A user can generate an information sheet for a selected cover crop that provides additional information and references relevant to application within the state or province.
The current version of the tool has been completed for Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, while other states and provinces are presently developing their information. When completed, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario will be added to the web-based system. An NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant, MSU’s Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs) and the Great Lakes Regional Water Program fund the project.