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OMAFRA: When is cover crop N released?

January 23, 2024  By Top Crop Manager

When do cover crops, with and without manure applied, release nitrogen that can be used for my corn crop? OMAFRA field crops sustainability specialist Christine Brown provided a thorough response to this question on Field Crop News.

The simple answer? Predicting nitrogen (N) availability from cover crops is complicated. Cold and wet conditions in the spring negatively impact soil microbial activity and can result in significant delays in N release. The type, timing and rate of manure as well as the type of cover crop and when it’s terminated also impact N availability. Manure applied to non-legume cover crops often results in a slightly earlier release and higher amounts of N. Cover crops with manure increases N cycling and improves soil water holding capacity which often results in higher grain quality (higher protein content) and improved yield. |READ THE FULL ANSWER



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