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If I seed a hairy vetch cover crop this fall and end up with a nice thick stand, what percentage of nitrogen (N) can it provide next year for an average 200-bushel per acre corn crop?

Editor’s Note:

The No-Till Roundtable is a department appearing in every edition of Conservation Tillage Guide. For each issue, we’ll send out an email asking for your thoughts and opinions on a no-till topic. If you have a topic you’d like to see addressed, please email boconnor@lessitermedia.com..

A: According to the literature, corn has been found to recover 17-32% of hairy vetch residue N. The literature also states that you need more than 1,000 pounds per acre of above ground biomass for the potential of a sufficient N credit. The no-tiller would have to be patient in the spring to capture this amount.

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    — Shalamar Armstrong, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Agronomy, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University


A: Lots of variables to this. If you let it grow until first flower, which means maximum N production, he might be able to count on the hairy vetch to provide 75% of N needs.

 — Steve Groff, Cover Crop Coaching


A: The best way is to clip the stand and send in for analysis, but Oregon State University has a nice sheet that shows how to estimate the amount of N given the amount of biomass. Again, clipping and measuring would be the best.

 — Candy Thomas, NRCS, Salina, Kan.


A: It is very variable. It depends where you are and what soils you have…

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