No-Till Roundtable: Cover Crop Adoption & Management Challenges

A: My biggest hurdle has been blowing stalks after we seed covers with a vertical-tillage rig. We get a beautiful stand and it’s affordable, but I’m losing way too much fodder. 

I may switch to a seeder mounted to the combine to remedy this problem, although I’m concerned about adding this weight to the machine. It’s one more thing that I have to worry about during harvest and it’s expensive. But the benefits look like they would be worth it.

— Dean Atkins, Chenoa, Ill.

A: My top obstacle was the space between my ears. How I overcame that was to experiment with side-by-side trials and learn from it. The end result was my soil and bottom line started to improve, so then I knew I was on the right course. I now have changed my soil so much that NRCS says they can reclassify my soil.

— Jimmy Emmons, Leedey, Okla.

A: Our largest challenge is overcoming the engineering or technical issues with planting into a robust cover crop. We farm a very heavy, silty clay soil and we adopted covers and planting green to see if we could make a tough soil a little less tough.

Our first year was very dry, and I realized I couldn’t evaluate the planting-green system agronomically as long as I was struggling with things like seed depth and seed-trench closure. 

We’re heading into year 6 and we’ve changed planters, depth-gauge wheels and closing attachments, added crimp rollers, and this year we plan…

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