Skip

Cover Crops and Soil Health

Winter pea, crimson clover, and cereal rye cover crop mixThe NRCS’s National Soil Health and Sustainability Team and Plant Materials Program are working together to improve our knowledge of using cover crop mixes to produce healthy soils.

Cover crops have the potential to provide multiple benefits in a cropping system. They prevent erosion, improve soil’s physical and biological properties, supply nutrients, suppress weeds, improve the availability of soil water, and break pest cycles along with various other benefits. The species of cover crop selected along with its management determine the benefits and returns.

Cover Crop Termination Guidelines

The termination guidelines provides information on termination of cover crops on non-irrigated cropland. They were created by NRCS, Risk Management Agency (RMA), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and other public and private stakeholders to address concerns about cover crops’ impact on crop insurance. Click here for termination guidelines.

National Study Progress Reports

Cover Crop Plant Guides

The following plant guides describe the characteristics of some commonly used cover crops. They provide assistance in selecting appropriate cover crops, when and how to plant and when to terminate or incorporate the plant into the soil.

These documents require Acrobat Reader.

Additional Resources

If you encounter any problems with the files provided on this page, please contact the Plant Materials Program Webmaster at 520-292-2999 Ext. 112.