Soybeans and Cereal Rye Cover Crop
Cover crops, like cereal rye, are often planted to cover the soil and prevent erosion. How exactly do they do this? In this illustration, cereal rye is planted in the fall after a soybean crop was harvested. Cereal rye is a fast growing crop with high volumes of above and belowground biomass, and during its growing cycle, its roots are able to grow deeper into the soil than the soybean roots before it. By rooting deeply and providing plenty of aboveground cover, the rye cover crop stabilizes the soil, preventing erosion, and retains moisture. Its roots create channels that allow crops planted after the cereal rye to root more deeply and benefit from the enhanced soil structure and moisture. This is apparent by looking at the soybean crop on the right-hand side of this illustration.