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Senior Advisor

Cover Crops & Weed Supression

Anyone in the central plains ever use cover crops as an alternative to chemicals to keep fallow acres clean/free of weeds?  I'm considering doing that very thing to see which is more economical but unsure if my next cash crop (winter wheat) will pay the penalty for lost or used up moisture.

 

Thoughts?

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6 Replies
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Advisor

Re: Cover Crops & Weed Supression

My thoughts?  I would try a few acres and see what happens.  In our area we do not have fallow acres but I do use cover crops planted in the Fall and terminated with chemical before planting corn or beans-Winter Rye being the main one.  Not sure if they suppress weeds or not since they are killed before weeds really get going.  Your thinking maybe an oats-clover planted in March and then chemical killed early Aug and then plant Winter Wheat late Aug or early Sept.?  Yes, cover crops use moisture but they also soak up heavy rains (if there be such) much better than bare ground.  Also, keeps your soil from blowing away.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Cover Crops & Weed Supression

Seems like there are some varieties of rye, that vegstable growers use, that are suppose to suppress weeds even after it has been burned down or even disked into the top couple inches of soil.
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Senior Advisor

Re: Cover Crops & Weed Supression

With all do respect buck, there is no way in hell I'd plant rye. Way to envasive of the wheat grown in this area. I just won't do it, I've heard to many horror stories of days gone by.
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Senior Contributor

Re: Cover Crops & Weed Supression

That is probably "rye grass". The one time my cousins tried it, it was " grain or cereal" rye. Which is real easy to kill in our area. I think it was some sort of special variety also. I've used both and could see how rye grass could become a weed in wheat. What I used didn't seem to provide much weed suppression. It looked like what my cousins did worked pretty well.
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Senior Advisor

Re: Cover Crops & Weed Supression

Thanks buck, I'm unfamiliar with rye and just thought rye was rye.  Maybe I need to talk to a couple cover crop seed dealers and see what they recommend.  It would be an added bonus if I could graze a few of these acres or hay them before being killed.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Cover Crops & Weed Supression

Based on My (admittedly limited) experience I offer this. Between milo and wheat in a W-M-F rotation you may be able to eliminate one or two chem apps by planting an oats based cover mix. It may last till mid summer. Planting a sorghum-Sudan based mix may suppress weeds till wheat planting, probably will, but you'll need one or two applications before planting, and will need to kill the feed ahead of planting wheat. And it will suck up all available moisture, surface level and deeper. We often plant feed after wheat stubble, graze it through fall and winter, then chem fallow ahead of wheat planting the next fall. You're in a higher rainfall area than I, so may be able to into sift a bit more than I can
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