Ecosystem Services


Grassland Set-aside Stewardship Program

Water retention

Increase in water holding capacity


Increase in soil macropores; the roots of grasses, especially clover, can bore channels through compacted soil

Soil microbial activity, macro invertebrates

Increase in aeration

Nutrient retention

Replenish soil organic matter

Nitrogen Fixation

Plant cover that may decrease use of fertilizers

Winter Cover Crop Stewardship Program

Prevent rain-induced soil erosion

Increase soil porosity and break up compaction by the roots

Nutrient retention

Cereal cover crops scavenge nutrients from leaching along with the heavy winter rains

Nitrogen fixation

Plant clover cover that may decrease use of fertilizers

Reduction in chemical controls

Cover crops can shade weeds and some release allelopathic compounds that inhibit weed growth