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Use of cover crops to promote soil health

Code: 9781786764119
Robert L. Myers, USDA – SARE and University of Missouri, USA

Chapter synopsis: Several principles are recommended for improving soil health, including keeping the soil covered, providing living roots as much of the year as possible, increasing biodiversity and reducing disturbance of the soil. Cover crops contribute to achieving all of these principles. In addition to their contributions to soil health, cover crops help with weed and pest management, provide habitat and food for pollinators and wildlife, and contribute to environmental benefits such as reduced erosion, sediment loss and water quality impacts from nutrients and pesticides. This chapter describes a range of different ways that cover crops can help improve or promote soil health. Many of the cover crop impacts on soil health are interrelated, and such connections will be identified where appropriate in the following sections.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2017.0033.26
Table of contents 1 Introduction 2 Benefits of cover crops for soil organisms and soil organic matter 3 Benefits of cover crops for soil health related to soil physical properties 4 Impacts of cover crops on soil health through increased biodiversity, reintegration of livestock and profitability 5 Summary and conclusions 6 Where to look for further information 7 References

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