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Cover crop research revealed

Dr. Shalamar Armstrong presents findings at a cover crop meeting in Bloomington / photo courtesy of Alex Benoit

ASHKUM – Current topics on cover cropping and forage needs were covered during an informational meeting held in February, hosted by Pro Harvest Seeds.

Pro Harvest seed specialist Alex Benoit says new findings from Illinois State University research, pertaining to cover crops, were revealed. The research indicates how cover crops can help farmers improve soil health.

“The nitrate levels in Lake Bloomington were rising and to kind of counter regulation, they were thinking of ways to get farmers from helping that nutrient runoff and cover crops were a hot topic at the time,” Benoit explained.

Also at the meeting, seed specialist Jay Whalen discussed long-term yield effects and soil response. In three years of research, he has seen a positive result in his soil and a nice yield bump on a farm with continuous cover crops.

If you have a cover crop that survived winter, Benoit encourages you to scout those fields and make sure you have a plan ready for spring since the weather can break faster or slower than you think.

“Just make sure you know the stage of your cover crop and be watching and making sure you get that controlled in a timely manner.”

Pro Harvest ramps up cover crop ordering in the summer months, but it is never too early to plan ahead. Most of the company’s cover crop sales happen after mid-June.

“We really like having a lot of our orders in August. It helps us out from an inventory standpoint, but a lot of times, some growers don’t order until September or October when they are seeding,” Benoit said.

Pro Harvest Seeds is headquartered in Ashkum and can be reached at 866-807-7015 or online at

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