Success of Cover Crops

Before

Exactly one month ago today, we no-till drilled spring oats into a 1.3 acre plot near the south pond on Bass Pro Shops Base Camp property.

The oats germinated only four days after drilling and have thrived so far due to the intermittent rainfall that has occurred over the region. The mild end of September and warm beginning of October was beneficial as well. The cover crop has grown steadily and completely covers the soil surface in some areas of the plot.

The bottom photo was taken this past Tuesday morning and it is easy to see the difference between now and only a month ago. The best part about the oats is that they will “winterkill” themselves (plant will terminate when the ambient temperature falls below 32 degrees for extended temporal periods) while its residue sticks around. The residue provides numerous benefits, including increased soil biota activity, invasive species control, and improving overall soil health. This is just the beginning of the project, but I think it is wonderful to the fruits of our labor paying off.

After

Adam Barton
Conservation Specialist
Watershed Conservation Corps