While brush is turning brown and the trees stand bare, check a dairy farmer’s field for a green carpet of new growth.
New growth in the winter?
Yes farmers are growing cover crops in the winter time, despite our region’s negative temperatures and snowfalls! Farmers have revolutionized sustainable farming in New England and across the U.S. with cover crop practices.
In the past, after the corn was harvested, the soil was left bare in the winter and tilled in the spring for more corn.
Instead, farmers now plant a second crop in the fall called a cover crop, like winter rye or wheat.
Cover crops grow through the winter and spring to hold water and nutrients in the ground.
The cover crop is planted without tilling the soil, using special no-till equipment that penetrates through existing vegetation. Barstow’s Longview Farm is on a path to no-till for our corn and cover crops. But with high equipment costs and yield drag from no-till acres the first few years, we haven’t fully transitioned yet.
Cover cropping is one of the many sustainable practices that Barstow’s Longview Farm is committed too.