Iowa farmer sees benefits from cover crops ahead of soybeans

A northwest Iowa farmer is seeing benefits from planting cover crops ahead of soybeans.

“Including increased weed control.”

Sam Bennett of Ida County says cover crops suppress weeds, allowing him to cut back on herbicide use.

“We figure that the cover crop is paying for itself after we see some weed control benefits from it, so we get all the other benefits for free basically. We’re seeing better water infiltration in the soil since those cover crops are putting roots down deep.”

He says they generally plant cereal rye before soybeans and oats ahead of corn.

“Soil health is hard to measure, but we’re seeing some pretty good improvements in organic matter and water infiltration is a big thing for us (because) it makes for better spring conditions, more days in the field, less mucky conditions in the spring. Things like that.”

Bennett and his family also grow conventional and organic alfalfa on their century farm.

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