In Nebraska corn, barley, edible beans, millet, oats, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and other forages are grown here and marketed organically. Other organic crops such as amaranth, popcorn, blue corn, and spelt are grown under contract for a premium.
Rotations vary by region. In western Nebraska, a stacked three-year rotation of winter wheat/millet/fallow/winter wheat/sunflower/fallow has been successful at the High Plains Ag Lab. If there is adequate soil moisture, the fallow phase after millet can sometimes be replaced with winter field pea that's plowed under in early June. In eastern Nebraska a seven-year rotation of soybeans/winter wheat/popcorn/alfalfa (three years)/corn has been used successfully at the South Central Agricultural Lab near Clay Center. Hairy vetch is planted after wheat harvest to provide nitrogen for the following popcorn crop.
Field Peas. Field peas are showing promise as a profitable cool-season crop in western Nebraska. Field peas add flexibility to the organic rotation, providing a window of opportunity for incorporating manure and growing cover crops prior to planting a winter small grain, and breaking cycles of weeds and pests that infest warm-season crops. See Replacing Summer Fallow with Grain-type Field Peas: New Markets, New Opportunities.
- Midwest Cover Crops Council selector tools and publications
- Nebraska Cover Crop Research
- Organic No-till Vegetables: Harnessing the Power of Cover Crops
Ray Weil, soil health guru and professor at the University of Maryland, maintains this personal cover crop and soils website with research updates and information for farmers and educators.