California Department of Agriculture: Cover crop benefits outweigh water use concerns

While cover crops may not generate traditional income and require the use of a little extra water, the benefits outweigh the costs according to the California Department of Agriculture.

Secretary Karen Ross told Farm Progress that cover crops are one of the most popular practices they see farmers employ in their health soils program, and it is for good reason.

Their benefits include:

  • Protecting against soil erosion
  • Improving soil health
  • Crowding out weeds
  • Controlling pests and disease

The benefits are also noteworthy that a group of more than 30 individuals worked together to publish Cover Cropping in the SGMA Era.
The 89-page report shows that soil water infiltration increased more than 40% and runoff was reduced by more than 40% when cover crops are used— critical for areas like California’s San Joaquin Valley where groundwater challenges are more prevalent than ever.

Agriculture Shows
From soil to harvest. Top Crop is an all-new series about four of the best farmers in the world—Dan Luepkes, of Oregan, Illinois; Cory Atley, of Cedarville, Ohio; Shelby Fite, of Jackson Center, Ohio; Russell Hedrick, of Hickory, North Carolina—reveals what it takes for them to make a profitable crop. It all starts with good soil, patience, and a strong planter setup.
Champions of Rural America is a half-hour dive into the legislative priorities for Rural America. Join us as we interview members of the Congressional Western Caucus to learn about efforts in Washington to preserve agriculture and tackles the most important topics in the ag industry on Champions of Rural America!
Farm Traveler is for people who want to connect with their food and those who grow it. Thanks to direct-to-consumer businesses, agritourism, and social media, it’s now easier than ever to learn how our food is made and support local farmers. Here on the Farm Traveler, we want to connect you with businesses offering direct-to-consumer products you can try at home, agritourism sites you can visit with your family, and exciting new technologies that are changing how your food is being grown.
Featuring members of Congress, federal and state officials, ag and food leaders, farmers, and roundtable panelists for debates and discussions.
Host Ben Bailey hops in the tractor cab, giving farmers 10 minutes to answer as many questions and grab as much cash as they can for their local FFA chapter.