Cover Crops for Managing Salinity and Promoting Soil Health

Cover crops offer many benefits when used as a soil management tool. They can promote general soil health through improving soil structure, providing habitat and food for biological activity, contributing organic matter to the soil, and protecting the soil from wind and water erosion. They can also assist in addressing specific soil health concerns, such as salinity. Saline-tolerant cover crops can be selected to manage soil water and reduce salts in the rooting zone, while also building soil health. I will provide the conceptual foundation for these approaches and will highlight some cover crop research and demonstration projects from North Dakota State University’s soil health program.