Cover Crops

Cover crop mix
Photo credit: Randall Reeder

Cover Crops can help farmers address a number of issues in fields including reduced soil erosion, nutrient scavenging and nitrogen fixation. Different species provide different benefits. Producers should identify what the goal is they want cover crops to acheive. This will help narrow down the species decision and allow for measurement of success in the future.


General Resources

The Midwest Cover Crop Council has extensive resources on cover crop management from deciding which covers to use to planting and termination. The selector tool assists in deciding which cover to select based on planting time and management goals. Access the tool at

Cover Crop Fundamentals Fact Sheet

Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations SARE Publication

Cover Crop Economics SARE Publication

Managing Cover Crops Profitably SARE Publication

USDA NRCS Plant Materials Program

OSU Soil Health Website


Conservation TIllage and Tecnology Conference Presentations

2020 Cover Crops, No-till and Soil Health

2020 Spring Management

2019 Issues and Benefits

2019 Cover Crops, No-till and Soil Health

Radish as cover crop in November

Species Decision Tools

USDA Cover Crop Chart

Midwest Cover Crop Council Selector Tool

Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide ($5)


Management Issues

Controlling Vole Damage in No-Till Corn and Soybeans

Radish interseeded in corn

Farmer interview podcasts on using and managing cover crops:

Linda Vernon and Tim Lyden join us to share why they are so passionate about cover crops. Tim discusses his history in using cover, the challenges he’s faced as well has the benefits seen on his farm.

Listen on: iTunes Stitcher

Jack Sommers and Tim McDaniel, farmers in Champaign County, talk about how they got started using cover crops and what it means for their operation today. We talk about equipment, species used and benefits, including the economics of it.

Listen on: iTunes Stitcher


Planting Green at Farm Science Review



C.O.R.N. Newsletter Articles

  1. field of cereal rye cover crop

    Cover crops are used for a variety of reasons in a crop rotation. Adding cover crops can improve soil structure, retain nutrients, suppress weeds, reduce water and wind erosion, increase soil organic matter and provide forage. The presence of a cover crop can also influence the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus  and sediment in surface and subsurface water leaving at the edge of field. A summary of cover crops water quality impacts from Ohio field comparisons was recently published.

    Issue: 2021-24
  2. Ohio State measuring stick in ground of cover crop field
    Author(s): Mary Griffith

    The next three sessions of CORN Live webinars will focus on managing cover crop systems. Sessions will be on Thursday mornings from 8:00-9:00am with 1 hour of nutrient management CCA CEUs offered for attending each session. Topics include:

    Issue: 2021-23
  3. Author(s): Amanda Douridas , Author(s): Jason Hartschuh, CCA , Author(s): Elizabeth Hawkins , Author(s): Mary Griffith

    This summer we planted a variety of cover crops in the AgCrops Plots at Farm Science Review. We took some video before the killing frost a few weeks ago. Listen in as we discuss the species and benefits in this short video. Check back throughout the winter as we monitor how each species breaks down or survives until planting next spring. View a number of resources on species selection and management at

    Issue: 2020-38
  4. Author(s): Sarah Noggle , Author(s): Rachel Cochran

    We are now approaching the time of year to think about planting fall cover crops. Cover crops can serve many purposes, ranging from erosion control to nutrient sequestration. Depending on the type and species of cover crop, benefits range from providing a Nitrogen source, scavenging nutrients to decrease leaching potential, acting as a soil builder, preventing erosion, fighting weeds, acting as a forage, conserving soil moisture, and enhancing wildlife habitats.

    Benefits of certain types of cover crops:



    Issue: 2020-37
  5. A cereal rye cover crop planted following corn in late April on an Iowa farm. The Midwest Cover Crops Council's new cover crop tool can help farmers determine the best types of cover crops for their fields. (Photo courtesy Tom Kaspar)
    Author(s): Sarah Noggle

    The cover crop decision tool described in this article will be used in discussions during the 2020 Virtual Farm Science Review.

    The following article is a reprint from the September 9, 2020 Purdue University Agriculture News

    Issue: 2020-32


  1. 04/2017

    Ohio Agronomy Guide 15th Edition, Bulletin 472. The newly revised Ohio Agronomy Guide serves as the official compilation of adaptive results and recommendations from research and educational programs. Described in this manual is information on Ohio's climate and soil, soil and water management, soil fertility, and corn, small grain, and forage crop production and management. Also, seed evaluation and weed control for the previously listed crops are discussed.

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