Cover Crop Uses

Uses Seed

Farm seed is a large assortment of beneficial crops that are used commonly amongst farmers and gardeners. Most commonly these crops help increase Nitrogen fixation, suppress weeds, attract bees, add organic matter, forage benefits, and provide no till foliage. These methods of farming have been becoming increasingly popular as organic farming methods have seen a resurgence. Not only are these crops beneficial to the farmer but they put less burden on the environment.

The Barkant Forage Turnip is an improved, early maturing, diploid turnip variety with a large purple tankard shaped bulb. Turnips have a high leaf to stem ratio and and provide very high concentrations of protein, sugar content and leaf yields. This turnip is ideally suited for grazing and it is common to obtain 4-6 tons of dry matter per acre of this high-energy feed.  Uses: Chicken forage, deer attractant, forage

The Common Flax is a cool season annual broadleaf with small taproots and very small, narrow leaves that are less than an inch long. This variety's stems are branched near the base of the plant, with plants reaching 30 to 36 inches in height. The multiple stems or branches of a flax plant are slender and flexible, bearing attractive blue flowers. Flax has the same performance benefits of other grasses and grains, of quick germination and a highly fibrous root mass. Flax will take up excess N and other minerals, will winter kill and provide moderate to high amounts of organic matter back to the soil. Flax provides excellent mulch for protection of erosion and improving water permeation during the winter and spring. Flax (Linum usitatissimum): Cool season, broadleaf, Annual, Upright plant habit Uses: Bees & Beneficial Insects, Chicken Forage, Erosion Control, Green Manure, Nitrogen Savenger, No Till, Organic Matter (Biomass)

The Mandan Wildrye Grass is a fast growing, cool-season, perennial bunch-grass that is a great choice for erosion control. It can be planted early or late fall, but for best results, Mandan Wildrye should be planted in the spring. This hardy grass performs well on most soil types. The Mandan Wildrye produces and brown seed head and can grow up to 4 feet! Uses: Erosion Control, Forage, Green Manure, Nitrogen Scavenger, No Till, Organic Matter (Biomass), Weed suppression

The Canada Wildrye is a cool-season bunchgrass grain variety that can be found throughout Canada and the U.S. except in the southeastern states. It is typically found in prairies, open woods, fields and disturbed sites. This grain tends to be short-lived but provides quick stabilization for erosion control seedings, and it makes a good, early successional component of prairie mixtures. The Canada Wildrye provides quality forage for livestock and wildlife.

The Frontier Grazer Rye is a grain that makes a great cover crop to prevent erosion and build up organic matter in the soil! Plant this variety early to late fall; in mild climates fall through early spring. The best choice for fast, cool-season germination. The Frontier Grazer Rye captures soil nutrients in the fall to release in spring when worked into the soil. Uses: Erosion Control, Green Manure, Nitrogen Scavenger, No Till, Organic Matter (Biomass), Weed Suppression<

The California Blackeye #46 is similar to California Blackeye #5, but with smaller seeds. Bred by the UCLA and released in 1987. California Blackeye #46 plants are more erect than California Blackeye #5. The seeds are a typical blackeye type of Southern peas with cream-colored seed coats and black pigments around the eyes.  Heavy yielder. If using for Nitrogen fixation we highly recommend using a cowpea inoculant. Try with cowpea inoculant for maximum Nitrogen fixation.

The Secada Forage Pea is a relatively new forage pea that has a wide range of uses such as forage, green manure, weed suppression and more! This forage pea is highly palatable, self-climbing and with high dry matter yields. A fast growing, cool-season annual legume, the Secada Forage Pea performs very well during the fall, winter and spring in Southern states. In more northern climes, an early spring plant will give high dry matter yields of excellent forage. Uses: Chicken Forage, Deer Attractant, Forage, Green Manure, Nitrogen Fixation, No Till, Organic Matter (Biomass), Weed Suppression

California Blackeye #5 is a high yielding, vigorous and easy to grow. You can use these as green shell peas or dry like winter beans. Pods reach 6-8" long and are loaded with creamy, delicious seeds. Does well in high heat areas. Treated Seed.

The Austrian Winter Pea, sometimes called black pea or field pea, is a great cool season legume for cover crops, wildlife and winter grazing! This cool-season, annual legume has good, nitrogen-fixing capabilities. The Austrian Winter Pea is a low-growing, viny legume which has been shown to fix over 200 pounds of nitrogen per acre per year. It has hollow, slender and succulent stems, 2 to 4 feet long. The foliage is pale green, and the flowers are colored, usually purple, pink or reddish. Uses: Chicken forage, deer attractant, forage, green manure, nitrogen fixation, no till, organic matter (biomass), weed suppression

The Piper Sudangrass is a great catch crop for excess nitrogen that produces heavy amounts of organic matter and suppresses weeds. This grass grows quickly at heights up to 7 feet. The Piper Sudangrass is great for livestock forage, but should be grazed only when mature and never after a frost as it turns toxic. Uses: Erosion Control, Green Manure, Nitrogen Scavenger, No Till, Organic Matter (Biomass), Weed Suppression

The Annual Ryegrass is a very fast growing grass that makes for a great cover crop as its fibrous roots prevent soil erosion and build organic matter! Plant this grass early fall to late fall, or early to mid-spring and can germinate in cool weather. The Annual Ryegrass established protective cover quickly and over seeds well at higher rates. This grass can scavenge as much as 200 pounds of nitrogen per acre. When used as a spring cover crop, this Annual Ryegrass should be killed before reaching seed formation stage. Ryegrass (Lolium sp.) Uses: Erosion Control, Green Manure, Nitrogen Scavenger, No Till, Organic Matter (Biomass), Weed Suppression

Using the Field Peas and Oats Blend throughout your garden is a great way to fix nitrogen and add organic matter to the soil! This blend contains a great ratio of grass and legume cover crop for fixing nitrogen, winter cover, weed suppression and more. The Field Peas and Oats Blend should be sown from early spring to late summer. Sow no later than 6 weeks before first fall frost in your area. This variety is gold hardy enough to grow long into the fall leaving behind a great mulch for soil protection. (75% peas / 25% oats by weight) Seed Coverage: - 5 lbs covers 2,000-4,000 sqaure feet - 100 lbs covers 1-2 acres Uses: Deer Attractant, Green Manure, Nitrogen Fixation, No Till, Organic Matter (Biomass), Weed Suppression

The Winter Rye is a tall grain cover crop that can reach up to be 5 feet tall and prevents erosion and builds organic matter in the soil. This grain can be planted early to late fall and in mild climates, fall through early spring. This grain is the best choice for fast, cool-season germination. The Winter Rye captures soil nutrients in the fall to release in spring when worked into the soil. Uses: Erosion Control, Green Manure, Nitrogen Scavenger, No Till, Organic Matter (Biomass), Weed suppression

The Sunn Hemp is a legume that makes an excellent cover crop as it is great for nitrogen fixation and nematode resistance in the soil. This legume is a fast-growing legume that produces significant quantities of biomass and fixes nitrogen into the soil with a short rotation of 60 days under optimum conditions. Plant the Sunn Hemp at least 8 weeks before first frost. For maximum benefit terminate crop at first flowering, prior to developing fibrous, hard-to-manage stalks. This legume is tolerant of dry conditions. Avg. 15,000 seeds/lb. Uses: Compaction Control, Erosion Control, Green Manure, Nitrogen Fixation, Organic Matter (Biomass), Weed Suppression

The Sideoats Grama is a warm-season bunchgrass grain variety that is easy to grow and native throughout much of North America. The ornamental and distinctive seed spikes hang from only one side of the stalk, and these make good fresh or dried cuttings. This grain prefers full sun and moderate to dry soils. The Sideoats Grama is recommended for meadow and prairie plantings, beds & borders, and as a component of forage mixes for livestock and wildlife.

The Buffalo Grass is a warm-season grass that is the predominant component of the shortgrass prairies of the Great Plains. Once established, it is extremely drought tolerant and tough. It can be used as a xeriscape lawn grass for water conservation, and it is a common component in range mixtures. White Tailed Deer, Bison and Prairie Dogs utilize it for forage, and it is a larval host for the Green Skipper. Plants are stoloniferous and can invade flower beds if an edging or barrier is not used.

Iron and Clay cowpeas makes a great cover crop for smothering weeds and adding Nitrogen to soil. This variety of cowpeas are grown just like soybeans. Iron and Clay is a fast growing plant that can reach 3'. The best time to plant is during spring for best results as the frost will kill the cowpeas. Iron and Clay has long taproots that help withstand drought conditions and can produce as much as 300 lb./acre nitrogen. This variety has a high organic matter production. Broadcast up to 120 lb./acre, 1/2 to 1" deep. Try with cowpea inoculant for maximum Nitrogen fixation.

When sown late summer, the Hairy Vetch spring regrowth is vigorous and nitrogen-producing, for tilling in before planting spring garden crops. You can sow with or without grain, grass or field peas! The typical nitrogen produced of this legume is 100 lbs. per acre. The Hairy Vetch has rapid growth that makes it a good weed suppressant. Uses: Bees & Beneficial Insects, Chicken Forage, Deer Attractant, Erosion Control, Forage, Green Manure, Nitrogen Fixation, No Till, Weed Suppression