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60 Ways Farmers Can Protect  Surface Water
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9. Protect the Soil With Special-use Annual Forage Crops

Field of forage crops A special-use annual crop can serve as a transitional crop when you are coming out of a corn or soybean crop in the fall, and it is too late to plant a cool season perennial forage crop, too early for warm season perennials. As a transitional crop, the special-use annual forage crop provides effective cover to reduce soil erosion.

You also may need a transitional crop when switching from an old perennial forage stand to a new perennial forage stand. To provide the best protection against erosion, special-use annual crops should be no-tilled.

farmer in a field Special-use annual forage crops are grouped into summer annual crops and winter annual crops. Summer annuals are planted in the spring through early summer and mature before frost.
Winter annual forage crop Winter annual forage crops are planted in the early fall. They often produce forage in the late fall or early winter, with the major forage yield coming the following spring or early summer.
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