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Cold, wet weather hit Wisconsin early in the fall of 2018, laying waste to the cover cropping plans of many farmers, even those with many years of experience.
“It was so frustrating,” says Tony Peirick, who no-tills about 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans with his brother and their two sons on the family dairy farm. “It should be green by now. But we drilled cereal rye and winter wheat on September 19, got 3 inches of rain that night and then it got cold, so hardly anything has even come up,” he said while surveying his fields on a visit last March.
Indeed, the field at T&R Dairy near Watertown, Wis., wasn’t much to look at, with tufts of short grasses peeking out amidst the corn stubble.
As a last-ditch effort, they had broadcast cereal rye with a fertilizer spreader on about 500 acres in mid-December and much of it hadn’t yet germinated. His enthusiasm undiminished, he poked around in the soil, identifying rye seeds. “We’ll see, but I think it’ll still come up this spring,” he said.