WASHINGTON — To help protect the health of soil, one of the first methods farmers might turn to are planting cover crops in their fields. The October 6th Sustainable, Secure Food Blog identifies several ways pennycress is a great alternative to traditional cover crops.
The benefits of the use of cover crops on agricultural land have been known for decades. However, the total acreage using these crops is extremely small. The main reason is that cover crops generally don’t turn a financial profit, so it is costly for farms to implement this great resource.
According to blogger Zenith Tandukar, pennycress bridges the gap between harvest for one year through to planting in the second year. While it grows, it actively provides benefits like other cover crops. It protects the soil against erosion, nutrient leaching, and early season weeds. It also acts as an attractive option for pollinators in early spring when other flowers are rare.
While pennycress serves as a living cover on otherwise fallow croplands, it also produces oil-rich seeds! The crops also can be used to make bioplastics and is an inexpensive source of plant-based proteins. With proper infrastructure and supply chain optimization, using pennycress as a cover crop followed by harvest can substantially increase farm profits for US farmers.
Pennycress has enormous potential in the realm of sustainable agricultural intensification such that farmers use the same amount of land for more output, all while helping the farmer’s farm profits, protecting the environment, and promoting soil health.
To read the entire blog, visit: https://sustainable-
–American Society of Agronomy
Crop Science Society of America