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6 Tips for Flying On Cover Crops Successfully

A pilot explains how a no-tiller’s choice in applicator, cover crop species, rate and timing play important roles in achieving a strong, uniform stand.


Pictured Above: HIRING THE BEST PILOT. Damon Reabe recommends no-tillers ask their aerial applicator if they do dry pattern testing, if they’ve handled the species of cover crops they want seeded and if they can ensure the seed will be flown on uniformly to help them determine the best pilot for the job.

One of the biggest concerns and complaints no-tillers have about flying on cover crops is that it doesn’t result in a good stand.

It’s an issue Damon Reabe is very familiar with. A pilot and owner of the aerial application companies Dairyland Aviation and Reabe Spraying Service in Waupun, Wis., Reabe understands the challenges in achieving good seed-to-soil contact from an airplane. But in the last 6 years of studying stand failures, he’s come to identify the key factors that can greatly increase the odds of a uniform stand.

At the 2018 National No-Tillage Conference, Reabe explained why your cover crop species, location, seeding rate and timing all play an important role in the success of your aerial-seeded cover crops, and how to troubleshoot failures.

1 Hire the Right Applicator

Online Extra

Click here to learn more about Damon Reabe’s aerial seeding equipment setups. And click here to hear his podcast about flying on cover crops successfully.

At the conference, Reabe showed the audience a photo of spring barley that had been flown into a field of sweet…

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Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

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