Cover crops, typically planted in the early fall, deliver a host of agricultural and conservation benefits. Citrus growers have found that cover crops reduce water demand, thus saving substantial irrigation costs. In addition, cover crops provide support to beneficial insects, which help reduce pesticide requirements.
In partnership with the Contra Costa County Resource Conservation District, two University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) advisors collaborated to support farmers’ cover cropping efforts. Kamyar Aram, UCCE specialty crops advisor for Contra Costa and Alameda counties, and Rob Bennaton, UCCE Bay Area urban agriculture and food systems advisor, developed a free online educational series on cover cropping. The videos describe in detail how to grow non-cash crops to add beneficial biomass to soils.
The series — comprising 10 webinars and five virtual farm-site visits — features UC farm and urban agriculture advisors and some of California’s foremost experts on cover cropping. The videos help growers overcome their hesitations about planting cover crops. Benefits of cover cropping include alleviating compaction, improving water retention and increasing organic matter and nutrients in the soil.
“Our site-visit videos include a diversity of cropping systems, operation types and scales, and levels of experience with cover crops, so we really capture a variety of perspectives,” Aram said. “Now, with the videos online, I hope that they will serve as tools for other farm educators, as well as a resource for growers directly.”
The recorded videos cover basic methods, financial assistance, tips for orchards and vineyards and more.
“Each video, whether it’s a webinar recording or a virtual site visit, emphasizes different aspects, and the titles are designed to help viewers find the resources they are most likely to benefit from,” said Aram. “There really is something for everyone.”
View the series of cover crop videos here.
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