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(Editor’s note: This article appeared in a 2019 issue of Direct Driller and originally in AgFuse.)
Growers probably know crop rotation is a good thing as it helps prevent pests and disease, improves soil health and reduces fertilizer inputs — all of which can boost crop yields and the bottom line.
Adding cover crops to the mix can diversify rotations even more. But should growers rotate cover crops just like they do with cash crops, or be using the same cover-crop species back to back, year after year?
Dave Robison, an agronomist for Legacy Seeds, says there’s value in rotating covers, especially if they’re using brassicas and peas. Robison warns that growers who continually use brassicas in cover-crop mix need to consider doing some level of rotation.
The reason is that growing brassicas back to back — mainly turnips, but also radishes — can result in clubroot — a disease that attacks a brassica’s roots.
While this can result in an unhealthy cover crop, for farmers who grow brassicas…