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Unseasonable warmth could complicate cover crop management

Unseasonably warm weather could complicate cover crop management this spring.

University of Minnesota soil scientist Jeff Strock says species like cereal rye and winter rye should enjoy fabulous growing conditions in the weeks ahead.

“To put on above-ground biomass, to essentially be a scavenger for any extra nitrogen that may have been in the ground. Should be good root-mass down there, which would help soil structure and carbon building, that kind of thing.”

But he tells Brownfield timing of termination will be especially important this year.

“Those crops could end up growing more and more, and actually suck water out of the soil profile. Which would, by effect, put those areas under some dry stress conditions. Especially near the surface.”

Strock says farmers will need to pay close attention to growth and be prepared to terminate cover crops earlier than usual.

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