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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, and 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? You may 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:

Cover Crops in Bayfield area - through the Cover Crops Boost Program
Grant programs offer up to $40 per acre for farmers in Main Bayfield watershed

Landowners in the Main Bayfield watershed 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 watershed can receive a total of up to $40 per acre, when the Cover Crop Boost grant program is paired with funding from the Huron County 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. The next application intake deadlines are July 31 and August 31, 2020.

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 from the Main Bayfield Watershed and you are planting three or more species, please fill out this form:

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 (70,000 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); and effect of pruning corn after maturity to enhance cover crop biomass production, in the 30-inch-row scenario.

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 or phone 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610, extension 249.

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: