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Cover Crops as a System at ASTACSS

Cindy Zimmerman

One of the first sessions of the 2022 ASTA CSS and Seed Expo as it kicked off in Chicago this week was all about a systems approach to breeding cover crops for optimal rotation and it was led by former USDA NRCS chief and nationally recognized conservation expert Bruce Knight, founder of Strategic Conservation Solutions, LLC, a consultancy focused on conservation and sustainability issues related to agriculture.

“The whole thing about cover crops is let’s do the right thing by the environment… but do it economically in a viable, sustainable long term manner, and that’s a systems approach,” said Knight.

Participants in the panel included Shalamar Armstrong and Dan Quinn, both with Purdue University, and Sara Lira, Corteva.

Dr. Armstrong’s research found that some farmers who started using cover crops got discouraged when they experienced yield lag. “Then we found if we rotate the cover crop in the system with the rotating cash crop, we can – with the right cover crop – reduce that negative trade off of the yield lag.” He used the example of cereal rye, a nitrogen scavenger, followed by soybeans, a nitrogen fixer.

Listen to interviews with Knight and Armstrong here:
ASTACSS interview with Bruce Knight, Strategic Conservation Solutions 7:19
Interview with Dr. Shalamar Armstrong, Purdue University “Systems Approach to Cover Crops”
ASTACSS interview with Dr. Shalamar Armstrong, Purdue 5:55

2022 ASTA CSS & Seed Expo Photo Album

Find more audio from ASTACSS in the virtual newsroom for the event

ASTA, Audio, Conservation, cover crops, Seed