Over-seeded Cover Crops Found to Improve Pasture Soil Health

Researchers at Louisiana State University found that when a warm-season grass pasture was over-seeded with cool-season annual cover crops, soil organic matter improved, nitrate concentrations decreased, carbon concentrations stabilized, and soil microbial enzyme activity increased, suggesting a healthy soil environment. The research was funded by a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) Graduate Student Grant. Researchers tested the results of overseeding a winter annual mix of grasses (annual ryegrass, triticale, oats), legumes (hairy vetch), clover (crimson clover), and crucifers (radish and turnips), grazed rotationally. At one site, the study found that soil organic matter increased 6% with the treatment during the two-year study.