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Cover Crops

Try Cover Crops

Cover crops have many benefits to the landowner and the community.

Cover crops help to protect water quality and build soil health.

Cover crops help to reduce loss of nutrients and topsoil, reduce the amount and speed of water running off of land.

They reduce wind speed at ground level which reduces wind and water erosion and the speed of water runoff.

Those are just some of the benefits.

Find out more

Do you need some help to decide what to plant?

Contact your local cover crop seed supplier, talk to your neighbour, or contact your certified crop advisor.

You may also want to use the cover crop decision tool here:

Talk to us about grants and incentives

Talk to our staff, at Ausable Bayfield Conservation, about some of the grant programs with incentives that can help make it easier for you try out cover crops.

Cover Crops in Huron County

To find out about the cover crop incentive category, for County of Huron residents, with the Huron County Clean Water Project, visit the Huron Clean Water Project page here:

Please note the following changes, in 2021, to the County of Huron's Huron Clean Water Project (HCWP):

  1. $15/acre
  2. Maximum of 150 acres ($2,250/ applicant)
  3. No multi-species requirement after corn or soys 

This means that landowners who combine HCWP funds and the Cover Crop Boost program can receive up to $45 now.  

Landowners in the Bayfield, Bayfield North, and South Gullies watersheds are eligible.

Cover Crops in Bayfield and area – through the Cover Crops Boost Program
Grant programs offer up to $45 per acre for farmers in Main Bayfield, Bayfield North, and South Gullies watersheds

Landowners in the Main Bayfield, Bayfield North, and South Gullies watersheds are now eligible for an enhanced cost-share program that offers $30 per acre, up to 100 acres, for planting cover crops.

“If you have been wanting to try cover crops, this is a great opportunity,” said Hope Brock, Healthy Watersheds Technician with Ausable Bayfield Conservation. 

The grant is thanks to the enhanced Main Bayfield Cover Crop Boost Program.

Agricultural producers in the Main Bayfield, Bayfield North, and South Gullies watersheds can receive a total of up to $45 per acre, when the Cover Crop Boost grant program is paired with funding from Huron County's Huron Clean Water Project.

To find out more about grants to plant cover crops contact Hope Brock or Nathan Schoelier, at Ausable Bayfield Conservation, 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.

Funding is limited and some restrictions apply.

Download the application form now.

If you are from the Main Bayfield Watershed and you are planting 1-2 species, please fill out this form:

If you are planting three or more species, please fill out this form:

If you are in the Bannockburn; Bayfield Headwaters; Bayfield North;  or South Gullies watersheds, please fill out the following application form:

Unsure which watershed you live in? Check out the maps in the Ausable Bayfield Watershed Report Card:

If you have any questions at all about the forms or application process, please contact Hope or Nathan.

Their contact information is on our staff contacts page:

Cover Crops in Sixty-Inch Corn

Certified Crop Advisor and Professional Agrologist Ross Wilson, of Ausable Bayfield Conservation, is updating us on the use of #covercrops and #60inchcorn in a trial south of Clinton, Ontario, Canada.

Here are some video updates about the project:

First Video (Posted June 2020):

Second Video (Posted July 2020):

#healthylakehuron #landtolake #pieceofthepuzzle

This research project observes the effect of different cover cropping strategies within a 60-inch twin-row corn scenario.

Variables include population size (64,000 versus 48,000).

Another variable is the effect of different cover crop mixes. For example ... tailored either to the corn crop (mostly legume, especially early maturing); or the subsequent bean crop (mostly Italian ryegrass with some clovers and a little brassica and radish).

Other variables are cover crop seeding rate (30 pounds per acre versus 60 pounds per acre).

Ausable Bayfield Conservation is working with the participating landowner (thank you, Bill Gibson and Family!) and with agricultural industry partners to monitor.

The project partners will be monitoring 2020 corn yield; 2020 cover crop biomass production; autumn 2020 soil health indicators; 2021 bean yield; and autumn 2021 soil health indicators.

Strips are 60-feet wide to accommodate three passes of eight row planters and four passes of 15-foot drill. Strips about 700 feet long equate to about one acre in size.

(A football field is about 1.32 acres in size. An acre is more than 4,000 square metres.)

Wilson flags out strips after a second cultivator pass. 

The 60-inch corn twin rows are planted by the two-pass, every-other-row method, offset by seven inches.

Cover crop mixes are drilled into the corn at the 'V4' stage.

There is a common fertility program for all strips.

The project uses GPS (Global Positioning Systems) to locate strip boundaries for furture reference.

The damage to corn is minimized, when planting the cover crop, by splitting twin rows with drill-seed openers.

To find out more contact Ross Wilson, Water and Soils Resources Coordinator, at rwilson@abca.ca or phone 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610, extension 249.

The first photo shows emergence of twin-row corn and the second photo shows the emergence of cover crop between rows.

In photo above, the photo on the left-hand side shows emergence of twin-row corn and the second photo, on the right-hand side, shows the emergence of cover crop between rows.

Cover Crop Comparisons

Check out this 60-inch corn comparision chart:

Cover Crop in 60-inch Corn Presentation

Watch this presentation, on the Cover Crops in 60-inch Corn Trial, from Ross Wilson and Hope Brock, Ausable Bayfield Conservation, from the Annual Cover Crops Workshop on January 29, 2021:

Cover Crops Videos

Watch other cover crop videos on our YouTube channel:

There have been a number of cover crop innovations found throughout Huron County over the past few years.  Here are a few highlights from 2020. Ausable Bayfield Conservation thanks all the farmers adopting cover crops and improving soil health and water quality. Grants and staff support may be available. Visit abca.ca to find out more.

Ross Wilson, MSC; PAg; CCA-ON; Water and Soils Resource Coordinator, Ausable Bayfield Conservation, talks about the many benefits of cover crops and 'service crops.' Thanks to https://www.bensound.com/​ for the wonderful music.

Let's root for roots! In this video, certified crop advisor Ross Wilson, of Ausable Bayfield Conservation, takes you on a tour of what's underneath the surface. You may never look at roots the same way! Just as every player on the ice has a role to play, each kind of cover crop can play a different role and achieve different goals for you. #healthylakehuron​ #landtolake​ #pieceofthepuzzle​ Thanks to https://www.bensound.com/​ for the wonderful music. #healthylakehuron #landtolake #pieceofthepuzzle

More bees please! Help our pollinators ... plant cover crops. Ross Wilson, a certified crop advisor and Water and Soils Resource Coordinator with Ausable Bayfield Conservation,  visits the farms of two local participating landowners and shows how some cover crops attract pollinators. Pollinators, like bees, are needed for growth and life.

Have you wondered about using #covercrops​ after corn?  Find out more about using #60inchcorn​ to help establish a cover crop during this trial project south of Clinton, Ontario, Canada. Stay tuned for more updates over the season! #pieceofthepuzzle​ #healthylakehuron​ #landtolake​ Thanks to https://www.bensound.com/​ for use of the music ('Sunny').

Have you heard about pollinator strips? They help with wind and water erosion and provide habitat for local pollinators. Check out this video from Huronview Demonstration Farm www.huronview.net @HuronSoilCrop @HealthyLkHuron #pieceofthepuzzle​ #healthylakehuron​ #landtolake​ Simon's Song music by Dan Lebowitz, royalty-free music courtesy of MusicHub

Cover Crops and Soil Health

Visit our page for recent soil health initiatives:

  • Soil – Soil Health – Recent Initiatives

Also, visit the soils page of the Conservation Strategy developed by your watershed community: