Before long, no-tillers throughout the Midwest will have a new way to get data on cover crops they might include in their rotations. The Midwest Cover Crops Council has unveiled its “Cover Crop Decision Tool” that provides growers with fact-based recommendations for covers.
The database includes Indiana, Michigan and Ohio and will be expanded to include Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, North Dakota and Ontario.
To access the Cover Crop Decision Tool, type http://mcccdev.anr.msu.edu/ into your web browser, or go to the Midwest Cover Crops Council web site, www.mccc.msu.edu/ and click on the tool under “News” in the right-hand column. Or, click on “Cover Crops Selector” under “Cover Crop Resources” in the left-hand column.
No-tillers using the tool enter their state and county and a list of possible cover-crop species appears, broken down into non-legumes, brassicas, legumes and mixes.
Each cover is rated as “C” for common use, denoting considerable knowledge about the species, or “E” for emerging use and limited area knowledge. A reliable establishment period for covers is noted, along with a “freeze risk” period.
If the grower enters more information, such as the anticipated subsequent cash crop, growing dates and field drainage, the web tool hones in on the best cover-crop choices for those situations, based on current knowledge.
Some blends of cover crop species are also included. The cover-crop suggestions can be further fine-tuned by selecting a goal, such as nitrogen scavenging, erosion control or lasting residue.
“The idea behind this came from the fact that there’s…