CORVALLIS - The Oregon State University Extension Service has just published a new 50-page booklet for Oregon growers entitled "Using Cover Crops in Oregon."

The publication is intended to help make cover cropping management decisions, according to Richard Dick, professor of soil science at OSU and project leader for the publication.

"It is based on input from farmers and a wide range of OSU faculty, making it particularly applicable to conditions in the Pacific Northwest," Dick said.

Usually not grown for harvest, cover crops are planted to enrich soils with organic matter, cycle nutrients, protect soil from water and wind erosion, suppress weeds, insect pests and diseases and reduce nitrate leaching to groundwater, explained Dick.

Topics covered in the new booklet include: the benefits of cover cropping, possible disadvantages of cover cropping, how to choose a cover crop, cover crops in annual and perennial systems, how to estimate nitrogen contributions to a subsequent crop and economic considerations of cover cropping.

The booklet provides detailed information on specific cover crops suitable for Oregon including: annual ryegrass, barley, oats, triticale, wheat, buckwheat, cereal rye, common vetch, crimson clover, fava bean, field pea, hairy vetch, rapeseed, red clover, subterranean clovers, Sudangrass and sorghum-Sudangrass hybrids.

"Cover Crops in Oregon," publication EM 8704, is available by mail for $5.50 per copy. Send your request and check or money order payable to OSU to: Publication Orders, Extension and Station Communications, OSU, 422 Kerr Administration, Corvallis, OR 97331-2119.

Specific cover crop information sheets found in "Cover Crops in Oregon" are also available individually: "Annual Ryegrass," publication EM 8691; "Barley, Oats, Triticale, Wheat," publication EM 8692; "Buckwheat," publication EM 8693; "Cereal Rye," publication EM 8694; "Common Vetch," publication EM 8695; "Crimson Clover," publication EM 8696; "Fava Bean," publication EM 8697; "Field Pea," publication EM 8698; "Hairy Vetch," publication EM 8699; "Rapeseed," publication EM 8700; "Red Clover," publication EM 8701; "Subterranean Clovers," publication EM 8702; and "Sudangrass," publication EM 8703.

Send the title and series number along with a check or money order for 50 cents for each copy ordered to the address above.

To learn more about cover crops, you can view the above publications on the Extension and Station Communications web site. Open and select "Educational Materials Catalog," then "Field Crops." You'll find them under "Other Forage Legumes."

Development of the manual was partially supported by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.


Richard Dick, 541-737-5718