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Retooled Rotary Hoe Interseeds Cover Crops Into Corn

Outfitted with a Gandy applicator, this 20-foot used rotary hoe successfully interseeded annual ryegrass and hairy vetch into standing corn at the V5 stage.


ABOVE PHOTO: NEW LIFE. Warsaw, Ind., grower Mike Long retooled this used 20-foot rotary hoe with drop tubes and a Gandy linear applicator to seed annual ryegrass and hairy vetch cover crops into standing corn at V5 on plots in northern Indiana. Long handled the project for the Oregon Ryegrass Commission.


NO-TILLERS around the Corn Belt are continuing to find innovative ways to interseed cover crops into standing crops earlier in the year.

Another spin on this effort is a cover-crop interseeder built by grower Mike Long of Warsaw, Ind., at the request of the Oregon Ryegrass Commission. The machine was used for the first time this year to interseed annual ryegrass and hairy vetch into standing corn, says Dan Towery of Ag Conservation Solutions.

The commission spent $11,000 in machinery, parts and labor to have Long mount a Gandy linear applicator to the frame of a used 20-foot rotary hoe. A pull-type sprayer was also considered, but would have cost over $30,000, he says.

Better Stands

Half-inch drop tubes extend from the applicator down toward the rotary tines, which scratch the surface of the soil just before the seed is deposited. Earlier this year, hairy vetch and annual ryegrass were seeded on separate plots in northern Indiana around V5.

Towery says the cover-crop stands were very good in July. “This is still experimental, but it looks very promising,” he says.

This seeder may help with cover crop germination in a dry June, as it will help with seed-to-soil contact…

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John-dobberstein2

John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein is senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

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