Ontario cover crop selector tool now available

By Anne Verhallen, Soil Management Specialist (Hort), OMAFRA

So you want to plant a cover crop?  But you’re having trouble deciding which one to plant?  Or do you need more Ontario-specific information on cover crops?  Now there is a new on-line tool available to help you decide.  Ontario has worked with the Midwest Cover Crop Council (MCCC) to develop a Cover Crop Decision Tool.  The tool is available at http://mcccdev.anr.msu.edu/ .  It’s quick and easy to use.  Here are some highlights of what the tool can do for you. 

  • The tool uses historic weather data for each county in Ontario to provide frost-free planting windows to ensure getting enough cover crop growth.
  • You design it for your operation – your county, your crop + harvest data, and your soil type + drainage
  • From more than 10 choices, you select your goal in (reason for) planting a cover crop.  Options include building soil organic matter, alleviating compaction, minimizing wind or water erosion, fighting weeds, forage, nitrogen scavenging, nitrogen source
  • Each cover crop has a profile, specific to Ontario, that outlines potential benefits and cautions, as well as, planting instructions
  • The tool was developed by an Ontario team of cover crop experts including farmers, university researchers, OMAFRA field staff, crop advisors, and seed suppliers to provide option for your growing region
  • The MCCC decision tool is easy to use and similar to WeedPRO 75, where growers or agribusiness personnel input their specific crop and weed information and the program provides ranked options for weed control
  • If you  have any suggestions or more information, please email Anne Verhallen (anne.verhallen@ontario.ca )
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