Missouri cover crop update
About 800-thousand acres of Missouri farmland are planted to cover crops in cost-share programs. Charles Ellis, field specialist with MU Extension, says that’s a small percentage of the millions of acres planted to corn and soybeans in Missouri but it’s making a difference.
Ellis tells Brownfield Ag News, “Soybeans are a pretty good fit when you’re planting soybeans into a cover crop. When you’re planting field corn into a cover crop that survives in winter there’s more management challenges there to make sure you maintain yield of that corn crop.”
Ellis says Extension’s Strip Trial results across the state are showing environmental benefits of cover crops. He says yield maintenance is also part of it but not significant yield increases, yet.
“Maybe, over time, if some of these trial sites get to five to 10 years in one location maybe we’ll start to see something like that. But, right now, I’m not ready to say we’re instantly seeing a yield benefit.”
Ellis says changing the soil is a slow process. Ellis says they’re open to more growers across the state joining the strip trial program and Extension will guide them through it. Ellis led the recent Midwest Cover Crop event in Kansas City.
~Interview with Charles Ellis~