With cover crops becoming increasingly important for farmers to provide nutrients and protect against erosion, different varieties are being developed to address specific needs.
At the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) CSS & Seed Expo in Chicago last week, Risa DeMasi with Grassland Oregon, who is second vice chairman of ASTA, enlightened attendees about what they are doing to develop new cover crop seed. “Our company is very involved with cover crop research…working on sustainability issues for the soil and for the farmer,” she said. “Our mission is to provide novel solutions for growing concerns of the growers today.”
DeMasi says there are a number of different types of cover crops that are best for achieving specific goals, whether that is addressing soil erosion, soil compaction, water or nutrient management, wildlife habitat – or all of the above. One variety Grassland Oregon is particularly excited about is Balansa clover. “It provides a great amount of nitrogen,” said DeMasi. “It also creates very deep channels in the soil, so you get water availability when you want it and drainage when you don’t. It’s creating a lot of top growth so you get weed suppression. It also can create an environment of habitat for certain wildlife.”
ASTA is becoming more involved in the educational aspect of cover crops for all stakeholders, from policy makers in Washington to the farmers on the ground. Learn more in this interview: [wpaudio url=”http://zimmcomm.biz/asta/css-13-demasi.mp3″ text=”Interview with Risa DeMasi, Grassland Oregon”]