COVER CROP FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
The adaptation of cover crops is a key soil health practice and has expanded rapidly to 15.5 million acres in 2018. The USDA maintains a cost share program with the farmers requires farmers use a seed mix that includes Nitrogen scavenging plants. Water run off from fields that have seeded a cover crop contain significantly less pollution generally and only minor amounts of Nitrates. Soil health improves to the point that many farmers would continue the practice even if the USDA discontinued the cost share program.
Ideally, the time to seed a cover crop is pre harvest of the maturing crop.
Daylight time is longer and the probability of rainfall is higher so most preharvest seeding is successful. The vast amount of the seeding is done with ground equipment due to the high cost and the lack of available crop dusters.