I know you hear me talk of my beloved ryegrass too much… but having fields that look like this in December is what it’s all about! We really strive to have a vigorous crop growing year round. The plant roots release exudates(sugars+) into the soil as they grow to keep the billions of biological critters well fed all winter. The biologicals return the favor by providing nutrients for the plant. The plant gets it’s sugars through photosynthesis that can happen on a 50 degree day in December with the right crop. This is why the USDA is emphasizing farmers to plant more “cover” crops, to build the soil and deposit carbon all winter long.
Many farmers still view cover crops as a short-term expense and don’t believe it’s worth the extra cost and trouble in terminating or harvesting the crop in the spring prior to planting their cash crop … corn & soybeans. I don’t know what the solution is but it’s probably mostly government subsidies and training programs.
Our mix of ryegrass, wheat & crimson clover works well for us, but there are many other combinations that should be tailored to the farms climate and field plans.
So, it’s a big deal to Fischer Farms soils and carbon footprint but getting widespread use is a really really big deal for carbon sequestration & national soil health.
As you drive along all the brown fields this winter, think how green and alive they could be!