Using cover crops for the past 3 years complements the strip-tilling that David Kross of Earlville, N.Y., started 6 years ago.
"As a dairy defined as a CAFO (confined animal-feeding operation), we're required to use a cover crop on certain soils to prevent nitrogen from leaching," Kross says.
He uses a Great Plains no-till drill to seed cereal rye in the fall. The cover crop not only takes up nitrogen, but also breaks up surface compaction.
"We tried radishes and found it's just too cold here for them to survive after corn," Kross says. "The cover crops have worked so well that we've gone to using them after all of our corn. I am looking into possible cover-crop mixes that might do more than rye alone."
More and more strip-tillers are using cover crops and find that these practices work well together.