Texas Scientists Explore Regionally Appropriate Cover Crops

Texas A&M AgriLife scientists are investigating cover crops suited to water-limited environments and varying growing conditions in the different regions of Texas. Farmers are looking to optimize cover crop use without consuming the soil moisture needed for cash crops. In the South Plains region of Texas, where cotton is grown, wheat and rye cover crops seem to work best when planted at a lower density than usual and terminated six weeks before planting cotton. In the Northern High Plains, corn-cotton rotations demand a short-season cover crop. For the Rolling Plains, scientists explored a variety of small-grain cover crops and legume and mixed-species cover crops, to identify the balance between cover crop benefits and yield reductions.