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Cover Crop Chart: An intuitive educational resource for extension professionals

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Interest in cover crops by agricultural producers has increased the need for information regarding the suitability of crops for addressing different production and natural resource goals. To help address this need, staff at the USDA Agricultural Research Service Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory (NGPRL) developed a decision aid called the Cover Crop Chart (CCC). Visually analogous to the periodic table, the CCC includes information on 46 crop species within a free downloadable Portable Document Format (PDF) file. Cover crop attributes within the CCC are easily accessed through ‘point-and-click’ icons to navigate between crop selection and information pages. Information on growth cycle, relative water use, plant architecture, forage quality, pollination characteristics, and nutrient cycling are included in the CCC for most crop species. Initial input from users highlighted the educational value of the CCC, but also identified three suggestions for potential inclusion in forthcoming versions (i.e., addition of a selection feature based on the benefits of each cover crop, information addressing placement of cover crop species within a cash crop rotation, and a downloadable application for smart phones).
Mark A Liebig , Holly Johnson , David Archer , John Hendrickson , Kristine Nichols , Marty Schmer , Don Tanaka
USDA Scientist Submission
Journal of Extension 2013 Article #3T0T7 v.51 no.3
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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