Discover how to support pollinators with cover crops

PollinatorPhacelia (pictured at right) can attract pollinators and beneficial insects to your farm. Photo by John Hayden.

Cover crops can do a lot for your farm. To learn how they can support a thriving community of pollinators and beneficial insects—which in turn can improve crop quality and yield—check out SARE’s new 16-page publication, Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects.
Available for free as either a download or in print,Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects helps farmers make thoughtful changes in cover crop selection and management that support pollinators along with their other goals, such as suppressing weeds, managing nitrogen and improving soil health.

Pollinators provide a critical service in food production. As honey bees continue to suffer from Colony Collapse Disorder, providing pollinators with a healthy on-farm environment is essential. In October, the USDA SARE logoNatural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced $4 million in assistance for Midwestern farmers to plant bee-friendly cover crops, wildflowers and native grasses to help ensure farm productivity.

Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects includes information on pollinator and beneficial insectecology, including details on common cover crop species and their insect attractiveness. It also addresses the limitations of cover crops, describes relevant crop insurance regulations and gives guidance on reducing harm to beneficial insects when cover crops are used in rotation with pesticide-treated crops.

Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects can be ordered for use as a handout at conferences, workshops or field days. It was written by Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation staff members, with contributions from the NRCS. Download from this link.
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