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Welcome to the web home for Field, Lab, Earth, the podcast from the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. The podcast all about past and present advances in agronomic, crop, soil, and environmental sciences, our show features timely interviews with our authors about research in these fields.

Field, Lab, Earth releases on the third Friday of each month in addition to the occasional bonus episode. If you enjoy our show, please be sure to tell your friends and rate and review. If you have a topic, author, or paper you would like featured or have other feedback, please contact us on Twitter @fieldlabearth or use the email icon below. You can join our newsletter to receive notifications about new episodes and related resources here.

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Jun 13, 2018

“Achieving Diverse Cover Crop Mixtures: Effects of Planting Date and Seeding Rate” with Dr. Ebony Murrell and Dr. Mac Burgess

In fall, organic farmers across the country will start spreading seeds for crops that they won’t ever harvest. The reason? They’re cover crops! The secret agents of the crop game, these are crops that are planted in between plantings of cash crops like corn or wheat because of their many benefits to the land, the environment, and the farmer.

Historically, they’ve been planted to prevent water from carrying nutrients away in runoff. But in recent years, there have been discoveries of the many other benefits that cover crops provide, everything from weed suppression, to breaking up soil compaction, to making more nutrients like nitrogen available to their crops in spring. Dr. Ebony Murrell and Dr. Mac Burgess are fascinated with all of this.

They’ve found that mixing cover crops together can bring those benefits to the next level, especially if they are equally represented in the spring. Working with a panel of farmers, agronomic industry professionals, and academics, the two developed four seed mixes that brought together some of the most popular cover crops to see how these pairs worked with one another and how each was represented in spring.

Listen in to learn:

  • How Dr. Murrell moved from mosquito research to cover crops
  • How cover crops are like football players
  • How to get started with trying out cover crops for yourself

If you would like more information about this topic, today’s paper is available here: 

It will be freely available from 22 June to 6 July, 2018.

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Contact us at or on Twitter @FieldLabEarth if you have comments, questions, or suggestions for show topics, and if you want more content like this don’t forget to subscribe.

If you would like to reach out to Ebony, you can find her here:

If you would like to reach out to Mac, you can find him here:


CEU Quiz:

"Diversifying Cover Crop Mixtures" CSA News article: 

Penn State:

Practical Farmers of Iowa:


Midwest Cover Crop Council:

Managing Cover Crops Profitably:

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