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winter furrows road seedingDescription and Benefits

Field roads and furrows are some of the most vulnerable areas on sloping farmlands for winter erosion. Seeding non-weedy grass or other winter annuals on roads and on pre-bedded fields provides a large root mass that reduces the rate and volume of runoff. This protects roads from washing out, protects bed ends from slumping, inhibits the growth of weeds, boosts infiltration, and enhances the water quality of runoff into adjacent streams. A winter cover crop can also trap nutrients in the root zone to prevent soil nutrient loss from leaching during winter rains.

When to Use Winter Furrow Cover Crops and Road Seeding

Road seeding is useful on sloped farmlands with roads running directly downslope between planting blocks that that capture and transport winter runoff downslope. Furrow cover crops can further reduce the runoff delivered to the field roads and ditches that they drain to, reducing erosion risk both within furrows and downslope from the row ends.

Related Practices

"Cash for Cover Crop Seed" Winter Program 2021-2022

The Agricultural Commissioner and Resource Conservation District of Monterey County are offering financial assistance to medium and small growers to plant winter cover crop for erosion control during the rainy season. Growers are eligible for a rebate, up to $500 per grower, for seed of their choice that they have purchased and planted by the end of December 2021.

Cover crops are associated with soil benefits such as improved tilth and fertility, reduced erosion and crusting, slow down of runoff, increased infiltration and soil water-holding capacity. Cover crops can also host beneficial insects and suppress weeds. Furrow cover crop application has been demonstrated to significantly reduce runoff in sloped strawberry and vegetable production fields on the Central Coast.

To receive the rebate, complete and sign a Rebate Request Form or Formulario de Solicitud de Reembolso (submit the form to RCDMC with a copy of the cover crop seed purchase receipt) and a signed W-9 Form. Your rebate will take 60-90 days to process. E-mail the documents to RCDMC Soil Scientist Laura Murphy. For further questions call 831-975-7749.