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Are you looking for practical advice for planting cover crops on your farm? Cover crops are plants that are used to slow erosion, improve soil health, enhance water infiltration and availability, smother weeds, disrupt pest cycles, and offer other ecosystem services to your farm. Cover crops have been shown to increase crop yields, break up soil compaction, add organic matter to the soil, and to attract beneficial insects.

SARE’s Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations is the perfect primer for farmers and agricultural educators seeking practical, research-based tips on cover crop selection and management. Brief overviews of cover crop economics, establishment, soil fertility, rotations, and pest and water management are enhanced with links to more detailed resources online. Order or download now. Available as either a free download or in print, Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations can be ordered for use as a handout at conferences, workshops or field days.

Did you know that Alfalfa height may be a reliable indicator of neutral detergent fiber (NDF) values for your alfalfa field and alfalfa/grass-mixed fields? The South Central New York (SCNY) team is monitoring alfalfa heights again this Spring to help predict % NDF for first cutting hay crop. Results will be compiled and emailed on a weekly basis. To be included on the weekly email, or to be removed from the email, please contact Besty Hicks, bjh246@cornell.edu.

As of May 1st, the SCNY has predicted that this year’s conditions are closer to the “normal” for this region. Alfalfa heights near the southern portion of our region are approaching the 17” plus range on average. In the northern counties, observations show only a few inches less than that. According to SCNY, in order to cut pure grass stands for maximum quality, now is the time to be harvesting pure stands …if you can get in them! The rain and cooler temperatures this week have put the hold on in many operations, so you’re not alone in feeling frustrated about harvesting or being able to put corn in. Predictions for mixed grass stands are looking to be ready next weekend for peak quality harvest. Cooler weather may delay this a little bit, so hopefully fields will dry up a little soon.

Join the weekly email to see charts for determining what the optimal height is for cutting your mixed stands. If you have questions, contact the team at 607.391.2662 or by email at bjh246@cornell.edu.