I have had a couple of farmers express frustration that they are being told cover crops are needed on their farm because of all the benefits (better infiltration, living cover, etc.) they provide to reduce soil erosion. Yet, when software they use to calculate soil loss has cover crops added to the rotation, erosion rates are not reduced. Why the discrepancy?
Cover crops have many proven benefits, but these may not realized 100% of the time and are dependent on field conditions, weather, establishment method, past agronomic practices, etc. Erosion rates may not be reduced if the farmer is establishing a cover crop following a crop using tillage practices. Example- winter rye is established following silage corn. Erosion is likely to be reduced if the rye is no-till planted. Erosion is likely to be increased if the field is field cultivated first and then the cover crop is planted. The software has many crop and cover crop cropping choices. These have many layers of management decisions that influence soil erosion.
We have had another report of this within the last couple of weeks and want to dive into it further. I have a couple of hunches of what is going on. . . . . .but need to do a little troubleshooting to confirm and move potential issues/resolutions up the ladder.
Is there anyway you can email me or call? I would like to work with you on a couple of specific cases if possible.