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.


    — 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…

To view the content, please subscribe or login.
 Premium content is for our Digital-only and Premium subscribers. A Print-only subscription doesn't qualify. Please purchase/upgrade a subscription with the Digital product to get access to all No-Till Farmer content and archives online. Learn more about the different versions and what is included.

Top Articles

Current Issue


No-Till Farmer

Get full access NOW to the most comprehensive, powerful and easy-to-use online resource for no-tillage practices. Just one good idea will pay for your subscription hundreds of times over.

Subscribe Now

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings