Choosing Covers to Maximize Your No-Till Nitrogen Payback

Cover crops can prevent nitrogen losses during winter fallow, but no-tillers should be mindful of how carbon-to-nitrogen ratios in residue affects what’s available for the next crop.

Just because corn and soybeans have been harvested doesn’t mean it’s time for no-tillers to stop worrying about nutrient management.

The majority of drain flow in the Midwestern Corn Belt occurs in the fallow period between October and April. That’s when most water leaks out the bottom of the root zone — regardless of whether a field has tile, says Eileen Kladivko.

But wisely chosen cover crops may help no-tillers keep nitrogen from washing away…

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Laura barrera

Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

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