Sonja Brodt, UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program,
Lauren Snyder, consultant
The UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP) is pleased to announce the release of a new website for cover cropping information resources, featuring its new online Expert Grower Database for cover cropping practices in California orchards and vineyards, created in collaboration with the Napa County Resource Conservation District. This searchable database provides detailed information on cover cropping practices and strategies implemented by experienced cover crop growers in orchards and vineyards in two different regions – the southern Sacramento Valley and North Coast viticulture region.
The database organizes information generated from interviews with over 50 orchard and vineyard managers who richly describe their cropping system, farm priorities, and cover cropping goals and strategies. Database users will find information on specific practices related to cover crop seeding and establishment, how and when growers terminate their cover crops, as well as cover crop challenges growers experienced and how they address them. It is searchable by design, allowing users to filter results based on county, crop, soil type, organic certification status, preferred cover crop planting and termination methods, and cover cropping goals and concerns.
In addition to the database, the website provides numerous other resources, including species databases and links to cover crop selection tools, short summaries of scientific research results on the ecosystem benefits and management considerations for cover cropping, and links to funding sources and other guides and publications.
Sonja Brodt, Associate Director of UC SAREP, notes, “Cover cropping provides so many benefits to farms and our ecosystems, from improving soil condition and increasing water infiltration, to supporting beneficial insects, but the success of cover crops can also vary from year to year. We find that farmers who persist through these fluctuations and cover crop over the long-term typically experience the most benefits.” By offering detailed, grower-based information on how to successfully implement cover crops and overcome challenges, the website and the new database provide resources to help farmers navigate the complex world of cover crops.
Please help us spread the word about this free resource. View the Expert Grower Database and other UC ANR cover crop resources here.