Choosing the best cover crop for a particular cropping system can be difficult. Many factors are involved when selecting the most appropriate cover crop. The Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) has released an improved cover crop selection tool to help farmers determine the best types of cover crops for their fields. The MCCC is made up of representatives from 12 Midwest states, the Canadian province of Ontario, and select universities, including Kansas and Kansas State University.
With this tool, users select their state/province and county and then select the goals they have for cover crops — erosion control, nitrogen scavenger, fighting weeds, providing forage, etc. They also can provide information about the cash crops they are planting and drainage data for their fields, which is optional. The tool offers the best cover crop options for the specified conditions. Clicking on the cover crops brings up data sheets that offer more information about each crop, including seeding rates, termination methods, performance and cultural traits, and more. The tool is very easy to use and can provide as much or as little information as you choose.
The updated tool includes more accurate seeding dates for each county based on 30-year National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration frost date data; changes to seeding dates and rates to align with new research; and is now mobile-friendly and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The MCCC recently held a live, one-hour webinar on Sept. 23rd to demonstrate the new tool and answer questions. To view the recorded version of the webinar, and/or access the tool, go to mccc.msu.edu/selector-tool/.
Stacy Campbell is an Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Cottonwood Extension District. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Hays office, 785-628-9430.