Iowa is known worldwide for its rich, fertile and productive soil. We use that soil to fuel our state’s agricultural economy, growing corn and soybeans on 25 million crop acres each year. However, crops inhabit the landscape only five months out of the year. In the seven remaining months, the soil is often bare and unprotected from the erosive forces of wind and water. Without protection, we stand to lose our soil due to erosion.
Cover crops blanket the soil with green plant material; both the plant material above ground and the roots below the surface help protect the soil! Growing a cover crop can even change the structure of soil, increasing soil pore space and allowing more water to infiltrate through the soil profile instead of running off the land and leaving soil vulnerable to erosion. Earthworms and soil microbial activity can also increase with the use of cover crops.
Enhanced Learning Activities for Slow Jam Cover Crops
Doesn’t Play Well With Others (Grades 9-12)
SOS – Saving Our Soil (Grades 6-12)
Effects of Erosion (Grades 6-8)
You Can Count on Earthworms (Grades 6-12)
The Ties That Bind Soil Together (Grades 9-12)
Personal History and the Land (p. 4 in Culture of Conservation book)
Farming Soil Management Practices (p. 36 in Culture of Conservation book)