Innovating to Protect the Soil: Interseeding in Nebraska

Innovative cover crop program could help protect soil and protect against climate change

To the casual observer, it might look like weeds are growing between rows of corn on some Nebraska farms.

But no, those are definitely not weeds.

These little plants are powerful tools that enhance the health of the soil, increase biodiversity and help farmers become more resilient to climate change.   It’s a practice called cover crop interseeding. And those “weeds?” They are a carefully selected mix of plants intentionally planted between rows of the farmer’s primary crops – in this case, corn.

The cover crops – including clover, legumes, rye grass, radishes, and flax – can help the soil absorb rainfall, reducing run off and keeping soil nutrients in place.  They also can boost biodiversity by supporting beneficial microbes, earthworms, and insects in the soil and providing habitat and food for a wide range of wildlife. 

Interseeding holds great promise to help farmers build healthier soils, but it takes resources and expertise to make it work. That’s why Kellogg and its partners are collaborating with farmers in Nebraska, a region where the company gets much of the corn used in our cereals.

Through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy and Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District, we’re providing labor, technical support and financial assistance for cover crop seed and soil analysis costs.  Starting in 2020, 11 Nebraska farmers who farm about 10,000 acres have tested interseeding cover crops in their corn fields to trial the new practice.  The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will analyze soil health and yield data from the project to assess its economic and environmental benefits. Full results are expected after harvest in 2022.

“Seeding” this kind of innovation is just one part of Kellogg’s global commitment to create Better Days by supporting 1 million farmers and workers globally through programs focused on climate, social and financial resiliency.

Watch the video below for a closer look at interseeding cover crops on Nebraska farms. 

Watch the video below to learn more about how farmers and their partners are working with cover crops to boost the sustainability of their operations.

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