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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Where are all the cover crops?

I planted 50 acres of oats, tillage radish & field peas earlier this year in late March.  The cover crop was being used as a way to control weed growth this spring and put up as hay sometime around the first part of June before anything could go to seed.  My problem was the 3 or 4 killing freezes we had in late April.  It really stunted the oats, and virtually killed all the radishes and peas.  Just wasn't a good year to try it, you know what first impressions leave.

 

I've got an avid no-tiller in my area and has been for about 30 years.  He was planting cover crops on every acre every year the day following harvest, no exaggeration.  He was planting a blend in the spring, another blend in the summer, and a third blend in the fall.  He told me his cash crops following cover crops were taking a 35% - 40% yield hit compared to acres with no cover crops preceding.  When we attempt crops on 20" or less of rainfall annually, there is nothing you can do to the soil to improve it without moisture.  Cover crops can benefit some locations, but cause problems in others.

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k-289
Senior Advisor

Re: Where are all the cover crops?

rsw Put some on your P P acres 

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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Where are all the cover crops?

Na, he probably thinks it's tied into CRP or something.Smiley Very Happy

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farmerguy89
Advisor

Re: Where are all the cover crops?

Cover after wheat only here. Going to b real tough to make widespread where I am. Not enough small grain/ heat. Definitely yield increases and time for growth after wheat. Can't double crop here, so cover or fallow
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hanktbd
Senior Contributor

Re: Where are all the cover crops?

John  -  I think cover crops today are where notill was back in about 1975 or 80. Back then we had trouble getting good stands, controlling weeds, and getting good yields. Eventually the technology cought up with the concept and nobody moldboard plows followed by three preplant tillages followed by two or three passes with a row crop cultivator any more. Most of us love the concept of improving soil tilth and organic matter as well as reducing erosion and maybe scavenging or growing some N using cover crops. However, I need a reliable way to plant a good cover crop combination into standing corn around the Sept.1 timeframe to make it work and I need to be able to do that for about 15 to 30 bucks per acre. I need a surefire way to kill it and plant into it without losing stand or yield. I and 10,000 others are experimenting with all types of combinations, and my bet is that 10 or 20 years from now cover crops will be as widely utilized as roundup is now.  

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Re: Where are all the cover crops?

KB Seed Solutions is an annual ryegrass seed supplier.  We know that more growers in the Midwest are using cover crops.  Our shipping tickets prove it.  Our sales have continued to grow every year.  Soil health and nutrient recycling are huge reasons Midwest growers are using annual ryegrass as a cover crop.  Cover crops make sense environmentally and financially.

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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Where are all the cover crops?

KBSeed, I agree 100% if you receive moisture. If you are in the midst of a drought, I will no longer seed a cover crop. Seeing is believing.
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Blacksandfarmer
Veteran Advisor

Re: Where are all the cover crops?

ECIN, you bring up a great point. Residue management needs to be a front and center issue. We could go without cover crops and still keep erosion to a minimum by managing residue properly. I fully understand why guys do fall tillage, but having bare ground all winter wears out soil over time. Cover crops biggest hurtles to overcome with me is the insect pressure they will create. I have struggled the past two years with heavy pest pressure in soybeans because my fields were too infested with winter annual weeds which gives black cutworm and Asiatic garden beetle grubs an ideal place to live and feed.... Then blacksandfarmer burns down or lightly tills the ground eliminating the winter annuals and shortly thereafter plants a new food source for black cutworm and Asiatic garden beetle grubs to feed on, both pest are NOT controlled by seed applied insecticide. This leads me to another question Ken, what residual herbicides would you recommend for fall burndown/residual control of winter annual weeds. The fields would be prior cornfields going to soybeans the following year. I like doing light tillage of the cornstalks in the spring prior to planting beans, would that be an issue with any particular herbicides? Thanks.

 

Mike

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John_Walter
Advisor

Re: Where are all the cover crops?

KB: Thanks for chipping in on the discussion. Given some of the farmer concerns stated here, what are some of the management practices you recommend for Midwest and Plains growers in establishing and managing cover crops? Timing, rates, application methods, kill dates, etc.? Thanks for any thoughts.... - John 

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tree fmr
Advisor

Re: Where are all the cover crops?

We continue to experiment but so far rye has worked the best. Spread on after harvest with a fertilizer cart, just put seed on top of a maint fertilizer and go. Tried fly on but never get a good stand. This is all no till so need a rain after spreading. Leave 20 acres each spring to harvest seed for the next year and a place for manure. This spot gets radishes after rye harvest and the manure. This is in east central Iowa about 10 miles north of I-80.
This spring was tough being wet. Did not get killed early enough. Then damp planting into, got-r-done but really took some management and perfect performing no till planter.
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