Although May's rain showers were a welcome relief throughout most of South Dakota's farm country, excess moisture kept some farmers out of their fields this planting season. Cover crops may be the answer to maintaining soil health on those prevent plant acres, says Justin Fruechte, forage and cover crop specialist with Millborn Seeds.

"It's important to get something growing in the soil to keep it alive and fertile. Land is too valuable to let it sit idle and lose nutrients," says Fruechte, who helps landowners select specific cover crop mixes to maximize their soil health and achieve field goals.

He explains that cover crops maintain soil health because they suppress weeds, eliminate erosion, fix nitrogen and relieve compaction. Fruechte adds that because cover crops infiltrate the soil profile and utilize excess moisture, cover crops can alleviate future moisture issues.

"Because they treat the issue, cover crop acres are typically the best to plant into the following spring," he says.

Growers have many options when it comes to selecting a cover crop mix. Fruechte encourages them to choose a diverse mix of annuals such as legumes, brassicas and grasses.

"With the right blend, farmers don't have to worry about dealing with field trash when they are ready to plant next spring," Fruechte says.

To learn more about how cover crops can improve your field's health and select a blend that is right for your acres, contact Fruechte at or 605-697-6306.