Question: I'm in west-central Minnesota, and I'm considering broadcasting cover crop seed into standing corn around V5. Next year I want to plant soybeans green. What cover crop mix do you recommend?
At V5, I would focus on annual ryegrass. That far north, you're going to want a very good winter-hardy version. There are different varieties. Around us, we have guys going to more of the perennial ryegrass mixes just to get the overwinter survivability. If you want something that's very good at roots, annual ryegrass will probably put better roots out there than any grass I've seen. Roots can permanently change the physical chemical proportion of the soil, and soybeans into that the next year, it's like a lawn out there. Then it goes back to termination. That's the key with delayed termination — it's going to warm up by the time you want to kill it. What always made me laugh is Iowa State recommends 2 weeks before you plant is the ideal termination time. Well, last year we were frozen up May 1. We didn't turn a wheel until May 15. That doesn't give much time to go at university recommendations on the burndown. But with our plan, we were starting to terminate in early June. It's learning all those little, subtle things.
Editor's Note: Loran Steinlage addresses more cover crop questions in this Ask the Operator webinar.
“Ask the Operator” allows farmers like yourself to ask questions of our 2023 Conservation Ag Operator Fellow, Loran Steinlage. The West Union, Iowa, no-tiller makes an ongoing commitment to innovating on his own farm and going above and beyond to share his no-till knowledge with others. Read through past information in our content archive and submit your own questions for our Fellow to answer. Click here if you are having trouble viewing the question submission form.
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