Cover Crop Research Explores Effect on Groundwater

University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers and their collaborators conducted a multi-year study on how cover crops in almond orchards and tomato fields affected groundwater recharge. The studies revealed that cover crop water use was negligible, and at season’s end, soil moisture in cover-cropped fields was equal to that in clean cultivated fields. The living covers helped offset moisture losses from evapotranspiration, leading researchers to conclude that cover crops could be used for their multiple environmental benefits without impairing groundwater recharge. These findings can inform groundwater planning in California.