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GETTING STARTED. For farmers just starting out with cover crops, there’s value in starting with 5-6 species and assessing their performance before adding more. Tom Cotter

11 Dos and Don’ts of Cover Cropping

Two experts share their tips for what to try & what to avoid when getting started with cover crops.

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TJ Kartes and Andy Linder both have first-hand experience with the highs and lows of cover cropping.

Kartes is an industry professional from southern Minnesota who works with multiple farmers across multiple states. He is also salesperson for the forage and cover crop seed company Saddle Butte Ag. Andy Linder runs a cropping and cattle operation near Faribault County, Minn., where he also sells seed for Saddle Butte and does custom application.

They’ve both learned never to waste an experience — good or bad — by keeping it to themselves.

Below, find their guide to 11 dos and don’ts of cover cropping.

1. Don’t let fear drive your decision-making

Kartes says the biggest obstacle to adopting cover crops on the farm is fear of change. 

“You’ve got to get some thick skin to start this in your area because if you’re the only guy doing it, you’re going to get crap all the time about this. ‘You’re going to go broke. You’re going to lose the farm. Your dad would roll over in his grave if he saw you doing this. Are you dumb? This won’t work.’ That can be the real bad one,” he says.

Farmers also — rightly — fear the…

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Julienne Isaacs

Contributing Writer

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