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Prevented Planting Acres and Cover Crops

By Dean Baas
Challenging weather this spring has farmers considering alternatives to their cropping plans including prevented planting. When faced with prevented planting, consider using cover crops on these acres to avoid further soil degradation and improve soil resiliency. The Michigan State University Extension cover crop team has prepared a fact sheet titled “Cover Crops for Prevented Planting” to provide guidance if you are encountering this situation. You should also consult your Farm Service Agency and crop insurance agent when considering options for prevented planting acres.
The period following prevented planting provides an opportunity to benefit from cover crops during the remainder of the growing season. Some of these benefits include protection from wind and water erosion, increased soil organic matter, improved soil structure, increased soil permeability, increased water holding capacity, reduced nutrient losses, improved soil biological activity and build up soil nitrogen.
Use cover crop resources including the MSU Extension Cover Crop website, Midwest Cover Crop Council (MCCC) website and MCCC Cover Crop Selector Tool when choosing cover crops for prevented planting acres. The MSU Extension cover crop team is available to answer questions you may have about cover crops and their use.