If you’re using cover crops, what was your most difficult challenge getting them established? How did you resolve it?

Editors Note: The No-Till Roundtable is a department we’re including in every issue of Conservation Tillage Guide. For each issue, we’ll send out an email asking for your thoughts and opinions on a topic related to no-till. If you have a topic you’d like to see addressed, email managing editor Mark McNeely at mmcneely@ lessitermedia.com.

A: At this latitude establishing cover crops in a corn/soybean rotation with meaningful growth before a killing frost is a big challenge. We’re adapting an older Hagie sprayer with a Valmar air seeder to apply a cover crop mix when corn is at black layer.

We developed this idea years ago after noticing cover crops seeded via surface broadcast over soybeans at the first sign of leaf yellowing usually got a good catch. This was because the earthworms would pull the seed down into their holes where it would then germinate.

Experiments we’ve done for several years have been very successful. In our trials, the top-applied corn has been from 3-8 points drier at harvest than the untopped corn. Cover crop growth is significantly better both in the fall and spring when done this way compared to seeding after the combine.


Online Extra

Click here to read additional responses to cover crop challenges and solutions from no-till farmers just like yourself.

— Rod Sommerfield, Mazeppa, Minn.

A: Our problem was getting and keeping annual ryegrass established in growing soybeans, which are flown on…

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