Interseeded-peas-and-radish

Cover Crop Veteran Shares Secrets of Interseeding Success

Cover crop and no-till veteran David Brandt explains why no-tillers need to consider their herbicide program, cover crop seeding method and choice of species to make interseeding work.

David Brandt knows cover crops. The Carroll, Ohio, no-tiller has been using them on his 600-acre farm since 1978 and today has a cover crop seed company to help others improve their soil health and land management practices.

When discussing interseeding — the method of seeding cover crops into a standing cash crop — at the 2019 National No-Tillage Conference, he admitted that it’s not a perfect system. He’s having about a 79% success rate with it on his own operation.

But by pairing the right cover crop species with the right seeding equipment, along with knowing how long residual herbicides are activated in the soil, no-tillers can increase their odds of having success with the practice.  

Consider Herbicides

The biggest mistake Brandt sees no-tillers make with interseeding is not understanding how their herbicide program will affect their cover crops.

The first thing Brandt asks when a grower inquires about interseeding is what his herbicide program is and how long the residual is activated in the soil. Oftentimes, the grower hasn’t thought about it.

Brandt

GIVE IT TIME. If you don’t see your interseeded cover crop before harvest, it doesn’t mean it’s not going to grow, David Brandt says. In this picture, the cover crop was seeded 2½ weeks before the corn was shelled. While Brandt didn’t see the cover crop when he took the corn off, it was there two weeks later. Brandt seeded a grass species to scavenge and hold soil nitrogen for the following soybean crop, to help

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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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