While many cover crops are most effective if they have 45-60 days of growth before termination, producers should kill them at an appropriate time so as not to affect the next crop. If the spring looks like it will be a dry one, the cover crop should be killed several weeks before planting so as to conserve soil moisture. While it may seem like not a lot of biomass was produced, the roots of the cover crop still helped the soil biology, benefiting the soil system. If the spring will be wet or the soil needs dewatering, the cover crop could be allowed to grow longer for more biomass production and more benefits for the soil system.

Producers should check with their crop insurance provider and the local FSA office for guidelines and restrictions related to cover crops. For maximum soil benefit, the cover crop should not be grazed, hayed or tilled and the next crop should be no-tilled into the cover crop residue.