Weed & pestes control

Cover crops may be a biological 'bug' killer

While scouting corn fields in southeastern Indiana during the last three years, I've noticed fewer disease lesions of northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot in fields following cover crops. That could prove to be a major, underemphasized benefit. Disease lesions were more prevalent even on fields where corn was grown two years ago in a corn-soybean rotation when no cover crop was used.

I scouted corn fields with NCLB and GLS where cover crops weren't used. Less than 20 miles away, I had a hard time finding disease lesions on hybrids with exactly the same genetics – where cover crops were used.These fungal disease spores remain viable for years. Cover crop residue seems to cover up spores and prevent them from splashing on plants. As Marshall Alford, one of my customers, likes to say, "Don't try to fool Mother Nature; work with it and you'll be rewarded. "Still more cover crop benefits

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Here's a quick list of those benefits:

There's a lot of northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot this year. I'm sure farmers who used cover crops will have fewer disease lesions. Now's the time to plan for the future and plant those cover crops!  

Source: Sustainable Agriculture Cover Crops May Biological Bug Killer. FarmProgress.com [online]. [cit. 2017-02-21]. Available at: http://farmprogress.com/story-sustainable-agriculture-cover-crops-may-biological-bug-killer-162-131134 Note: our own translation