Improved Soil Fertility
Soil is alive. It breathes, it interacts with an amazing number of organisms down to the molecular level, and it can be healthy, or ailing, weak and deficient in its ability to support life.
Plants require N, P and K as basic nutrition, as well as trace minerals including boron, chlorine, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, sulfur and zinc.
Soil fertility is improved by cover crops partly because of the added organic matter that can become depleted. Organic matter improves soil structure, the way that sand, clay and silt particles are aggregated to allow air and water movement, as well as root growth.
Soil Life Has Many Forms
Soil contains hundreds of thousands of bacteria, fungi, insects, tiny arthropods, microorganisms and earthworms. When these organisms are in balance, the soil cycles nutrients efficiently, stores water and drains the excess, and maintains an environment in which plants can thrive.
Cover crops add biodiversity, especially in fields where monocultures are grown in high intensity cultivation, such as with corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and other cash crops. An ongoing cover crop program help achieve a sustainable balance in the complex systems that make for a healthy, fertile soil.