There's yet another reason for farmers to plant cover crops, says University of Illinois research. In addition to reducing soil erosion and nutrient runoff, increasing organic matter in the soil, and improving water quality, cover crops also provide important habitat for migrating birds. Although they can't replace natural habitat, fields with cover crops offer significant food and shelter benefits to migrating bird species, and this research showed that fields with cover crops always had more birds than fields without cover. The research was published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.
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