Will Winter Wheat Work As A Cover Crop?

No-tillers also debated the usefulness of rolling stalk choppers along with other hot topics.

No-tillers once again faithfully took to their keyboards and continued to make the Farmer’s Forum on the No-Till Farmer Web site, www.no-tillfarmer.com, a huge success. Two of the more interesting topics from the last month of postings have to do with using wheat as a cover crop and if it’s a good idea to use a rolling stalk chopper before no-tilling into corn residue.

If there is a no-tilling question you can’t find an answer for or if you enjoy helping out your fellow no-tillers, set aside some time and check out www.no-tillfarmer.com.

Wheat As Cover?

In my area of Ontario, it’s often difficult to get the ground dry in the spring. I’m thinking of no-tilling winter wheat this fall to suck the moisture out of the ground, which would allow me to no-till soybeans up to 2 weeks earlier.

What are the drawbacks? I know wheat stubble and soybeans don’t get along, but what about growing wheat as a cover crop? I’d plant Roundup Ready soybeans and apply a burndown herbicide soon after emergence.

—Wayne Oosterhoff, wayneo@kwic.com

You might consider rye instead of wheat. You should gain weed-control benefits over wheat, and rye should remove more excess moisture. In my experience, the window for killing rye is greater than wheat. However, tall wheat and short rye can be very hard to control.The downside might be the availability of seed in your area.


I’ve heard of poor stands of soybeans when no-tilled into living rye, but I don’t know…

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