North Dakota

Researchers from North Dakota State University and the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory in Mandan are investigating agronomic, environmental, and economic impacts of cover crops in ND’s semi-arid cropping systems.  Dr. Berti of NDSU was recently awarded a USDA grant to investigate “A novel management approach to increase productivity, resilience, and long-term sustainability of cropping systems in the northern Great Plains”. We are evaluating the influence of root crops, warm and cool season grasses, warm and cool season legumes, and non-mycorrhizal and mycorrhizal broadleaf species as cover crops planted individually and in mixtures.  Research is also being conducted on cover crop termination techniques and intercropping methods of establishing cash crops into cover crops.  Our initial interest in cover crop research was motivated by the work of ND farmers who turned to cover crops as a way to retain soil moisture, build soil structure, protect against soil erosion, reduce chemical inputs, and enhance nutrient cycling on their farms.

Cover Crop Recipes


Fitting cover crops into rotation can be challenging depending on which crops are grown. That challenge is further enhanced by a short growing season in this region. If you have a small grain or other short-season crop in rotation, it is easier to fit a cover crop after an early crop harvest. Farmers interested in using cover crops could consider including small grains in rotation to create that window of opportunity for cover crops when first starting this practice.

Additional Resources

Various agencies provide cover crop services at a local level. These resources can help with technical support and answer questions from a local perspective at no cost.

Feel free to contact your MCCC state representative for local questions and recommendations. Your MCCC state representative's contact information can be found on the State Contacts tab.


Marisol BertiProfessor
North Dakota State University
Loftsgard Hall 270A
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Phone: 701-231-6110
Click here to visit Dr. Berti's NDSU website.


Abbey Wick
Assistant Professor of Soil Health-Extension
239 Walster Hall, Box 6050
Phone: 701-850-6458
Fax: 701-231-7861

Mark A Liebig
Research Soil Scientist
1701 10th Ave. SW
PO BOox459
Mandan , ND 58554
Phone: 701 667-3079

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