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Cover crop


jflaw92

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I need an education from people that have real world experience.

This year I had a neighbor claim his grapes got 24D burns from me, even though no 24D was sprayed on my ground. Also the ragweeds are running rampant through my field due to lack of options on herbicides.

I'm planning on doing some cover crops this year on a field away from that neighbor so I can play around with it some. I will be using wheat since I bought a super sack from another neighbor real cheap just to try. 

I was wondering A) Can I broadcast the seed and get a decent stand? B) Should I plant in it next spring before or after I kill it? C) Does crimping work? D) Will this help keep weeds under control?

I understand that every field is different, I'm just wanting some real world insight on the topic. I'm finding it hard to get information on cover crops and weed control, which is what I'm after.

Thanks

 

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Broadcasting? It depends on many variables. We have had some excellent and non existent stands from broadcasting. Weather is the biggest variable. We try to always roll after broadcasting or  (no-till) drilling with a 30' mandako smooth drum roller .

I have no direct experience with crimping but you can watch it on YouTube. Dr Grant Woods at growing deer does it a lot with good success. 

ChrisNY has lots of experience in cover crops

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Broadcasting is hit or miss. my brother will lightly disk the ground  spread it with a fertilizer buggy, then lightly disk again. Has been good to nonexistent  as stated before.      If the ground is soft we have had good luck with a 510/5100 drill. But hard to catch that weather in the fall. 

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We have a few guys still doing it here, we always reccomend seeding at a half rate oneway, and then go perpendicular to it and cover the ground again. Ex. North to South and then East to West. Then harrow and roll if possible. This was with a fertilizer spreader not a Valmar or floater. We're in light sandy soils not sure how that compares to your ground.

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We use a fertilizer buggy when broadcasting. We prefer to drill but last fall even the broadcasting was too wet to pull the buggy almost and didn't hardly emerge any of the rye

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20 years ago guy around here would disk his bean ground after he cut his beans where he was going to put winter wheat. Then he'd have the co-op mix his seed wheat with the fertilizer and the co-op would spread it on. After that he'd take the disk back to the field and scratch the top. That's how he put his wheat out for probably 5 years. Don't know what his yields we're, but sure seemed like a slop a$$ job imo when you are planning on combining it to hopefully make something in return. You could do that too for what you have in mind, but your going to have to work the ground at least once, and that would be after it's spread to get a little dirt cover on the seed.

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I won't be harvesting the wheat, if anything we may bale it in the spring. The ground I'm trying it on will be put in soybeans next spring. 

I thought maybe I'd try hitting it with the disk to get it covered a little bit. 

Is there any other way to really kill it in the spring besides spraying it?

 

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I would not use wheat as a cover crop. Hard to kill, can carry disease and insect pressure over on the green bridge, also wheat has a alleopathic effect on corn especially. Much better choices out there for a cover. Try and mix a deep rooter like daikon radish, turnip, annual ryegrass with a nitrogen fixing legume. Wheat would be very low on my list for a cover crop

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I've had very good luck with soybeans no-tilled into a cereal rye cover crop. This is my third year and I'm planning on continuing this practice. I've broadcast some with good results and I've seeded it with my drill with good results also. We had a custom applicator apply some into corn with a high clearance sprayer last fall with mixed to good results.

To answer one of your original questions, yes a good stand of cover crop will suppress weeds. Here in NWOH we have a terrible time controlling mares tail and the rye cover does an excellent job of suppressing it and many other weeds.

I like to roll the taller rye with my crumbler after planting. Rolling or crimping produces a mat that protects the soil from drying out during the hot dry spells that we seem to be getting in July and August. I checked some of my fields last year during a very hot dry spell and there was still damp ground under the rye mat. They say that the soil can be 10 deg. cooler under there also. Besides it just makes it look nicer. ?

I'm planning on fabricating an attachment on my grain drill for next year to eliminate the need for rolling after planting. I've read various articles about crimping and if done properly it will kill the rye without the need for a burn down herbicide. I'd like to be able to get to that point someday but just not ready yet. A lot of organic growers are making it work. I guess I'm just not brave enough yet.

I would agree with Chris in saying that wheat would not be my choice for a cover crop for the same reasons that he mentioned. If I were raising corn I would use one of the commercial cover crop mixes with radishes in it. The problem can sometimes be getting any cover crop planted at the ideal time. I've got some ideas for that but just have not found the time to fabricate the equipment to put them into practice.

There's a lot of good info out there if you google cover crops. Gabe Brown here in Ohio is one of the most interesting cover crop promoters that I have listened to on the web. 

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if you are trying to stop weeds and worried about spray drift? thats what the neighbor suspects? get granular weed killer or pre-emergent granulars also - another thing that will help with it is fertilizer to all the good stuff to grow better and keep it topped a few times / season, this will allow the grasses to choke out the weeds - light disking/harrowing in the fall and overseeding is a good way to help as well - i like rolling things in here when broadcasting get way better stands 

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59 minutes ago, ChrisNY said:

I would not use wheat as a cover crop. Hard to kill, can carry disease and insect pressure over on the green bridge, also wheat has a alleopathic effect on corn especially. Much better choices out there for a cover. Try and mix a deep rooter like daikon radish, turnip, annual ryegrass with a nitrogen fixing legume. Wheat would be very low on my list for a cover crop

The only reason I'm using it this year is because I bought it for next to nothing just to do some test ground. I plan on changing up what I'm using based on what will be in the field following it. I just wanted to be able to mess around with it and not spend much money.

9 minutes ago, searcyfarms said:

if you are trying to stop weeds and worried about spray drift? thats what the neighbor suspects? get granular weed killer or pre-emergent granulars also - another thing that will help with it is fertilizer to all the good stuff to grow better and keep it topped a few times / season, this will allow the grasses to choke out the weeds - light disking/harrowing in the fall and overseeding is a good way to help as well - i like rolling things in here when broadcasting get way better stands 

I'll be working the field next to that neighbor next year and working in a granular pre emergent. I'm may try interseeding in part of the field too just to see how it goes.

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2 minutes ago, jflaw92 said:

I'll be working the field next to that neighbor next year and working in a granular pre emergent. I'm may try interseeding in part of the field too just to see how it goes.

that sounds like a great idea - and he wont know the difference if you are fertilizing - i have had good luck with the overseeding/scratching the dirt up the wheat will choke out any other seed in the spring when it gets thick

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The last ten or so years I was at the farm we were experimenting with cover crops on some ground that we couldn't put manure on. We started with just cereal rye then added some radish and finally had a blend of everything including hairy vetch and clover. We saw positive results but up here timing is everything, it's very hard to get it in early enough to have it actually make a difference. When we started we were broadcasting the seed over lightly disked ground and rolling it in with a cultimulcher. We eliminated the first disk pass on corn fields that we chopped and saw no change. After the farm purchased the 30 foot landoll drill we just no tilled the covers in but we did see a better stand when we disked the ground first, I think there was too much competition with the previous crop

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10 hours ago, jflaw92 said:

The only reason I'm using it this year is because I bought it for next to nothing just to do some test ground. I plan on changing up what I'm using based on what will be in the field following it. I just wanted to be able to mess around with it and not spend much money.

I'll be working the field next to that neighbor next year and working in a granular pre emergent. I'm may try interseeding in part of the field too just to see how it goes.

I understand you got it cheap, but cheap on the front end may not be cheap on the back end with increased herbicide costs and yield drag. Just something to consider. If you want a cheap cover, oats are the best just to get a cover out there. Winter kill, cheap, easy to establish. If you are determined to use the wheat, terminate it early.

 

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Always used rye here................Have both drilled and spread it, honestly, had the best luck with a finishing disk run over it after spreading it on and have a good stand.  Prefered to plant into it when its small and green in the spring, and then burn it off after the crop is up through it so the slugs don't chew everything off, if you have manure though, you won't have that issue.  I prefer to plow it down at a foot in height or so early in the spring, in my township everyone did that for decades and the soil structure here was excellent, despite what the never tillers say.  

I am no sold at all on radishes..............we dug test holes here in a neighbors field, got in the holes and dug ground out with knives and the radish seemed to grow like mad until it either hit clay or hard pan, the itty bitty end tap root would get through it, but the rest of the radish would grow towards the sky.  I am not convinced they are worth the price.  Minimum till inline ripper did more good, and probably considering what the radish cost and the outcome, was probably cheaper.  Also with the weather patterns here, where you needed the radish to grow the most, they wouldn't because they would drowned out, if you got a dry spell, the inline ripper really worked well there too as you could get in and out and atleast have a area that would drain to establish rye.  

 

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1 minute ago, TP from Central PA said:

Always used rye here................Have both drilled and spread it, honestly, had the best luck with a finishing disk run over it after spreading it on and have a good stand.  Prefered to plant into it when its small and green in the spring, and then burn it off after the crop is up through it so the slugs don't chew everything off, if you have manure though, you won't have that issue.  I prefer to plow it down at a foot in height or so early in the spring, in my township everyone did that for decades and the soil structure here was excellent, despite what the never tillers say.  

I am no sold at all on radishes..............we dug test holes here in a neighbors field, got in the holes and dug ground out with knives and the radish seemed to grow like mad until it either hit clay or hard pan, the itty bitty end tap root would get through it, but the rest of the radish would grow towards the sky.  I am not convinced they are worth the price.  Minimum till inline ripper did more good, and probably considering what the radish cost and the outcome, was probably cheaper.  Also with the weather patterns here, where you needed the radish to grow the most, they wouldn't because they would drowned out, if you got a dry spell, the inline ripper really worked well there too as you could get in and out and atleast have a area that would drain to establish rye.  

 

I read an article that stated this can be a problem with radishes in some soil conditions. My biggest take away from that article was that they found that some grasses(cant recall the variety) root structure was much better at pentrating some soils, was thinking up to 6 foot deep, and building organic matter in soil.and opening it up for moisture to get into subsoil.

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1 hour ago, iowaboy1965 said:

I read an article that stated this can be a problem with radishes in some soil conditions. My biggest take away from that article was that they found that some grasses(cant recall the variety) root structure was much better at pentrating some soils, was thinking up to 6 foot deep, and building organic matter in soil.and opening it up for moisture to get into subsoil.

Yes, but you never see much about it.  A lot of the no till info is based IMO on fake news, a guy in my state thinks he is the pope of no tillers.  You see article after article on how great this or that is, well the time when the no till Vatican came tumbling down for me was when I seen acouple articles on no tilling processing tomatoes, they made acouple mods to the planter, all worked great, and when they harvested them the yeild was pretty decent(previously the no till yielded ones stunk).  I asked the field man for that particular farm and he backed up the info.........later that year I was talking to one of the best operators there about something and the subject of no till came up.  Boy did he leave me have it about that "G-D con artist" as he called the individual.........what was not put out was they had a crew of imports walking behind the planter shoving the plants into the trench with putty knives because the planter would not close the seed trench..........then in harvest, the weeds were so bad that the shakers wrapped up in the harvester as they do in no till and threw most on the ground, again the imports were walking behind the machine and picking all of them up, which is why the yields were decent.  But you never heard anything about that..........it also explained why the experiment was stopped, but you never heard that either, we just needed the ground for other "trials".  The operator said those two days there were the longest ever, and he said it's great the successful experiment ended because in reality it was a total failure.  Yes, no till works but there is nothing wrong with being a skeptic and conducting your own trials.........and for god sakes don't be afraid to bust out the chisel plow to fix bad areas instead of bouncing over them for decades.  

End of rant.....

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I think you nailed it TP. Seems like everyone wants to have that "silver bullet", but what works for one guy rarely works exactly the same for another. Whether they're in another state or a half mile away. You can research till the cows come home and go down all kinds of rabbit holes, but at the end of the day the best way is to try even a small patch and see how it works for your operation.

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8 hours ago, jflaw92 said:

Thanks for all the advice and experience. I'll probably look into oats next year, along with some other options. Until about a week ago I'd never heard of hairy vetch, what is it? 

It's a legume similar to alfalfa or clover, actually was considered a weed around here at one time. It has the little nodules on the roots that fix nitrogen in the soil.

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2 hours ago, TractormanMike.mb said:

It's a legume similar to alfalfa or clover, actually was considered a weed around here at one time. It has the little nodules on the roots that fix nitrogen in the soil.

 

10 hours ago, jflaw92 said:

Thanks for all the advice and experience. I'll probably look into oats next year, along with some other options. Until about a week ago I'd never heard of hairy vetch, what is it? 

Very commonly is used along roads for erosion control. Hard to kill from what I'm told

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43 minutes ago, bitty said:

 

Very commonly is used along roads for erosion control. Hard to kill from what I'm told

Tim, I 'm familiar with Crown Vetch that is/was used for right of way slope stabilization. It's low growing legume vine that some states list as an Invasive species. It smothers out any plant with thick growth & with it's horizontal growth. It was a NO-NO to mow on R/W's. 

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11 minutes ago, Rainman said:

Tim, I 'm familiar with Crown Vetch that is/was used for right of way slope stabilization. It's low growing legume vine that some states list as an Invasive species. It smothers out any plant with thick growth & with it's horizontal growth. It was a NO-NO to mow on R/W's. 

I see, hairy or crown vetch. I did not notice the difference. Lol 

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