Farmers in the Western US and Canada face some particular regional challenges that can make it a struggle to keep land fertile and productive. Regardless of whether your primary crop is wheat, barley, or anything else, consider the advantages of adding in a forage crop to your rotation.
Increased soil fertility and quality
If you grow a legume forage crop such as alfalfa, the bacteria in the legume will increase nitrogen in your soil, reports the Government of Manitoba. Forage roots also improve water filtration and add organic matter back to soils, improving soil quality overall. If you’re concerned about your soil quality, you’ll want to look for forage equipment in Montana to get started.
Greater weed and pest control
According to PrairieFarmer.com, the crop diversity that comes from growers adding in forage crops is a critical weed management tool. Shaking up your crop rotations with forage crops disrupts the reproductive cycle for many pests, keeping them out of your cash crops.
Forage harvesting is good for the environment
Forage crops’ positive effects on soil quality are not only good for your farm but good for the greater environment as well. Soil erosion is a major current environmental problem, and forage crops add to organic matter in soil to reduce erosion. And the roots of forage crops store more carbon than most other cash crops, thus reducing carbon in the atmosphere and slowing the rate of climate change.
Some farmers are reluctant to grow forage crops because these crops require specialized equipment for harvesting, and some forage crops may require equipment for storing and curing as well. But don’t let this prevent you from reaping the benefits of growing forage crops on your farm. Purchasing forage equipment in Montana will put you on the path towards thriving crops and a productive farm.