How does growing corn in perennial groundcover work?

High yields, conservation benefits seen from well-managed perennial groundcover

October 22, 2020 – Most farmers agree-using cover crops in the offseason is a great way to protect your soil. But what if there is an even better solution for corn systems? The October 22ndSustainable, Secure Food Blog explores the use of perennial groundcover with corn crops and its benefits.

According to blogger Cynthia Bartel, “Farmers first seed their acres with a groundcover, such as bluegrass or fescue. Then they plant their row crop. During the first year, the perennial grass grows along with the corn. It remains to protect the soil after corn harvest when the soil is otherwise bare. In following years, so the grass does not get too tall and interfere with corn growth, the groundcover is suppressed in the spring and goes dormant during the corn growing season. The groundcover comes out of dormancy and regrows after the summer heat and drought stress ends.”

One benefit of this system is there are no annual planting costs, unlike traditional annual cover crops. Perennial groundcover can also provide environmental benefits including increases of soil carbon, and the reduction of runoff and nitrate leaching.

To learn more about perennial groundcover, read the entire blog:

The American Society of Agronomy is an international scientific and professional society with its headquarters in Madison, WI. Our members are researchers and trained, certified professionals in the areas of growing our world’s food supply, while protecting our environment. We work at universities, government research facilities and private businesses across the United States and the world.

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