Wade Dooley no-till drilled this snow-covered cereal rye into soybean stubble in mid-October at a seeding rate of 1 bushel per acre. Photo by: Wade Dooley

Seeding a Cereal Rye Cover Crop Every Month of the Year

No-tiller’s informal trial of seeding a rye cover crop every month of the year teaches lessons about rye’s resilience

Wade Dooley has done plenty of official experiments with the Iowa Soybean Association, Practical Farmers of Iowa and other groups that conduct research and development in agriculture. But when the Marshall County, Iowa, grower decided to try seeding rye every single month, there was nothing official about it

“This was not a proper scientific trial,” Dooley says. “This was me just going out in the field and playing around. I love to experiment on my farm.”

In fact, it was an accident caused by Mother Nature that made Dooley even think of the idea to do this type of experiment. 

“We took soybeans off a field in late October, and immediately went in and drilled cereal rye in part of the field,” Dooley says. “Then we got rained out, and it stayed wet for a while, so I stayed out of the field for almost a month. When I went back in to drill some more rye, I got rained out again. At that point, I figured if I keep coming back to this field, I might as well just keep the drill hitched up and see what happens if I plant rye every month.”

Month-to-Month. The field that Dooley was working on is rectangular and spans about 85 acres — perfect for doing strip trials, according to Dooley. He would go out to do the seeding in the mornings because he could catch the ground at the ideal conditions.

“It’s that sweet spot when the ground's just starting to…

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Mackane ag 150

Mackane Vogel

Mackane Vogel is the Associate Editor of Farm Equipment, No-Till Farmer, Cover Crop Strategies and other Lessiter Media publications. An avid writer for the last 10 years, he previously served as the editorial intern for 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and also wrote for several different sports journalism outlets before joining the Lessiter Media team in 2022. Mackane is a 2020 journalism graduate of Marquette University.

Contact: mvogel@lessitermedia.com

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