When it comes to cover crops, School of Agriculture Assistant Professor Joel Gruver is the go-to guy at WIU. This month, “Prairie Farmer,” features a large photo of Gruver and an article by Josh Flint, featuring commentary from Gruver. Flint’s article identifies key points about cover crops, including:
- why cover crops have been discouraged in Illinois;
- how 2011 highlighted the value of planting a cover crop before corn; and
- reasons why Illinois farmers may be taking another look at planting cover crops.
In “Cover it up,” Flint writes:
Gruver says for the past several years, a number of factors have worked against cover crops across the state. [He] says wet seasons have pushed Illinois farmers toward intensive fall tillage in an attempt to alleviate compaction issues. [M]any Illinois landlords seem to have an obsession with squeezing every last cash-rent dollar out of tenants. With so many paying steep cash-rent rates, Gruver says it discourages tenants from adding the risk of a cover crop. “We have to be realistic. Cover crops can add more risk,” [Gruver noted]. “Over multiple seasons, cover crops help to weatherproof a farm by improving soil quality. In the short term, dry weather can be tough on establishment, and wet weather can cause termination challenges.”
Read more about cover crops from “Prairie Farmer” in the article, “Look For New Rules For Cover Crop Reimbursement In Mid-January.”
Learn more about Gruver’s research and work with cover crops at the School of Agriculture’s Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Farm at wiu.edu/ag/organicfarm/