Cover Crops - Nitrogen Fixing  03/27/12 3:20:46 PM

Nitrogen-Fixing

Nitrogen-fixing cover crops are an essential component of building productive, healthy soils on the farm. Through biological nitrogen fixation leguminous cover crops provide growers with a non-manure source of plant available nutrients. Nitrogen-fixing cover crops also protect soil from erosion, contribute to organic matter formation, reduce weed pressure, and break recurring pest and disease cycles.

Nitrogen-Fixing Cover Crops Selection Grid

SPECIES

Total N (lb/A/yr)

P & K Scavenger

Soil Builder

Erosion Control

Weed Control

Quick Growth

Dry Matter (lb/A/yr) 

Alfalfa

100-220

VG

VG

G

F-G

F

600-2000

YB Sweet Clover

70-170

E

E

VG

VG

G

3000-5000

Mammoth Red Clover

50-150

VG

VG

G

VG

F

2000-5000

Double-cut Red Clover

50-150

VG

VG

G

VG

F

2000-5000

Berseem Clover

60-220

VG

VG

VG

E

E

6000-10000

Crimson Clover

55-130

G

VG

VG

VG

G

3500-5500

White Clover

60-200

F

G

G

F

F

2000-6000

Soybeans

45-130

G

VG

E

VG

VG

2500-4500

Field Peas

70-150

F

G

VG

G

VG

4000-5000

Hairy Vetch

70-200

G

VG

G

G

F

2300-5000

Chickling Vetch

65-100

F

VG

G

F

VG

2000-4000

E = Excellent; G = Good; F = Fair; P = Poor




Your choice of cover crop species or mixtures will depend on your crop rotation, what time of year you are planting and the potential benefits you hope to gain.

  • Hairy vetch is a winter annual (often planted with winter rye or oats) and is a good option for planting after early soybeans, wheat, canning vegetables or silage corn
  • If you are looking to grow the most N in a single season you may consider mammoth red clover, hairy vetch, yellow blossom sweet clover, AC Greenfix, plowdown alfalfa or our plowdown blend
  • For maximum green manure during the hot summer months or controlling stubborn weeds look into Berseem clover, crimson clover or a single season alfalfa
  • For a quick establishing cover crop you can plant field peas, crimson clover or Berseem clover

We strive to carry a wide selection of certified organic and conventional, untreated cover crop species that fits the needs of our customers and we continue to integrate new and emerging crops into our lineup. Whatever the need and no matter the field size, RIVERDALE AG SERVICE carries a diverse variety of cover crop species to fit your rotation.

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