Jim Hershey farms 500 acres in Southeast Pennsylvania, where he grows corn, wheat, soybeans and barley along with raising organic broiler chickens and hogs. He has been using cover crops for the last three years.
Hershey started with cereal rye but now is using a five-way cover crop mix on 100 acres: crimson clover, radishes, triticale, Austrian winter peas and oats. The cover crop system works well with his no-till system; he terminates cover crops in the spring with a roller attached to his corn planter. Hershey aims to have something growing on his farm 365 days a year.
According to him, the main benefit of cover crops is their ability to conserve moisture, which is especially helpful in the summer, and to build organic matter.