In this video, K-State Research and Extension agronomist Peter Tomlinson discusses the potential of cover crops to provide nitrogen when they are included in rotations with farm crops.
The current study – which is being conducted at the Ashland Bottoms research plots south of Manhattan – may provide greater understanding “of how we can maximize the efficient use of fertilizer (such as nitrogen or phosphorus) and how we can adjust the management decisions when we have cover crops in the rotation,” Tomlinson said.
He said understanding the effect of cover crops could not only help farmers maximize the use of nitrogen and phosphorus, but also maximize the farmer’s profitability.
“If we can find cover crops that will allow us to produce some of our own nitrogen – such as legume cover crops – that may present an opportunity where we can reduce our nitrogen rates,” he said. “For the producer, it gets to how can we maximize profitability while balancing with the need to protect the environment as a whole.”