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This area of the NRCS New York Technical Resources Web site provides references to planning and implementing conservation practices that are based on soil and plant sciences to achieve natural resource protection.

Cover Crops - Keeping Soil in Place While Providing Other Benefits

The harvest of low residue row crops, such as corn silage or soybeans, usually means that the soil surface in a field will be left bare until the next crop is planted and a new plant canopy is established. In the Northeast, the next planting may be 5-7 months away. That's a long time for the bare soil to be subjected to erosion caused by rainfall, snowmelt, or wind. For that reason, cover crops are usually established and grown in the fall months, and remain during the winter. Learn more.

Cover Crop Chart
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Cover Crop Chart

A Cover Crop Chart, available on the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Northern Plains Area web site, is designed to assist producers with decisions on the use of cover crops in crop and forage production systems.

The chart, patterned after the periodic table of elements, includes information on 46 crop species that may be planted individually or in cocktail mixtures.


Cornell University Cover Crop Decision Tool

Cover Crops for Vegetable Growers

The Cornell University Cover Crop Decision Tool helps you quickly narrow the choices of cover crop for your situation. 

This tool is based on

  1. the reason you need a cover crop;
  2. when you have a chance to plant; and
  3. how long it can stay in the field until you need to plant your next crop.

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The following brochures require Adobe Reader.

USDA ARS brochure

Sustainable Production of Fresh-Market Tomatoes and Other Vegetables With Cover Crop Mulches

This brochure, published by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) focuses on the winter annual legume hairy vetch both as a cover crop and as a mulch in a sustainable tomato production system. Though research on this mode of production was originally confined to growing tomatoes in stands of hairy vetch, further study has shown that the underlying concept can be easily modified to suit other crops and regional growing conditions.

Farming With Crop Residues

Farming With Crop Residues

This brochure, published by NRCS, provides photographs of various percentages of ground cover that can be expected using different tillage techniques. (.PDF 1.3 MB)

View this brochure as a web page.

Information Resources

Agronomy and Erosion (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service)

ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site features in-depth publications on production practices, alternative crop and livestock enterprises, innovative marketing, organic certification, and highlights of local, regional, USDA and other Federal sustainable agricultural activities.

Certified Crop Advisor Program (CCA) - A Program of the American Society of Agronomy.

Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) - Purdue University - The Conservation Technology Information Center is a national, public-private partnership that envisions agriculture using environmentally beneficial and economically viable natural resource systems. The mission of the center is to provide reliable, profitable solutions to improve the relationship between agriculture and the environment.

Cornell Guide for Integrated Field Crop Management - Pest management information for New York State from Cornell University Cooperative Extension. - Information related to forage crops in the northeast, from Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

IPM Institute of North America Inc. - The IPM Institute of North America is an independent non-profit organization formed in 1998 to foster recognition and rewards in the marketplace for goods and service providers who practice Integrated Pest Management, or IPM.

New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) - Cornell University - The New York State Integrated Pest Management Program develops sustainable ways to manage pests and helps people to use methods that minimize environmental, health, and economic risks.

Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Center - The Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Center fosters the development and adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a science-based approach to managing pests in ways that generate economic, environmental, and human health benefits. The Center works in partnership with stakeholders from agricultural, urban, and rural settings to identify and address regional priorities for research, education, and outreach.

Nutrient Management Spear Program - Cornell University Department of Crop and Soil Sciences

Pest Management - Pest Management in NRCS is primarily focused on helping producers mitigate the environmental risks of pest control activities, including pesticide risks to soil, water air, plants, animals, and humans.

Service Center LocatorUSDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) - The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.