Agronomic and Economic Effects of Harvesting Legume Cover Crops at Varying Maturities

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2004: $7,128.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Northeast
State: Vermont
Project Leader:
Kate Duesterberg
Cedar Circle Farm


  • Agronomic: soybeans, grass (misc. perennial), hay


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Crop Production: cover crops, nutrient cycling, tissue analysis
  • Production Systems: general crop production
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter

    Proposal summary:

    The use of cover crops as an organic alternative to synthetic fertilizers is a common but expensive practice on organic farms. There is a widely held belief that cover crops should not be harvested, but if allowed to fruit, they would have commercial cash crop value. This project will test that belief by investigating the effect harvesting soybeans and cowpeas at various maturities has on nitrogen and biomass inputs. Outreach will be through a field day, publications, and posted on a web site.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.