New videos highlight the benefits of oats, cereal rye and annual ryegrass as cover crops

When selecting a cover crop grass species, which one should you choose?

Oats growing in the cover crop variety trials
Oats growing in the cover crop variety trials at the Kellogg Biological Station. Photo by Elizabeth Schultheis, MSU Extension.

Choosing the correct cover crop is an important step for those looking to diversify their cropping system. Grasses are commonly used as a cover crop and can give any cropping system a positive boost. Three new videos released by Michigan State University Extension’s cover crops and soil health team discuss the pros and cons of oats, cereal rye and annual ryegrass.

Grasses such as oats, cereal rye and annual ryegrass can protect your farm from the effects of wind and water erosion. They can also enhance soil organic matter and add living roots into the soil during the winter months. The challenges that many growers face are choosing a grass that fits into their management style and figuring out how they can be implemented into a rotation. These videos will help you compare and contrast three prominent cover crop grass species.

For more information on grasses and other cover crop species, check out the resources Managing Cover Crops Profitably and the Midwest Cover Crops Council Field Guide. Cover crop information and resources are available through Michigan State University Extension’s Cover Crops page and the Midwest Cover Crops Council, or contact Christina Curell.

This work is supported by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program 2017-70006-27175 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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