A buckwheat cover crop plot at Bella Vista vineyards. (Photo courtesy biocontrol.ucr.edu)

Area Farmers Eyeing American Trend

Cover crops would be an increasing trend in southwestern Ontario if Chad Watts had his way.

“Why do we continue working the soil when we can let the soil work for us?” Asks Watts, the director of projects with the Conservation Technology Information Centre in Indiana speaking with area farmers in Woodslee on Thursday.

He says cover crops like grasses, legumes and radishes are planted after harvesting cash crops and can help improve soil quality and protect against erosion.

“Really what we’re trying to do is harvest that sunlight. Over the winter time, that sun is still shining and if we can have an opportunity to harvest some of that energy from the sun and put it to use in our soil, that’s a good thing,” says Watts. “I think there’s a great opportunity we have for protecting soil and I think it’s part of the answer to protecting water quality.”

Watts says the use of cover crops has been an increasing trend over the last five years according to a survey done by the CTIC.