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No-till can reduce the number of field operations for corn from eight to two, just roll and plant. No-till cover crops supply nutrients, build organic matter and prevent soil erosion. The challenge has been in finding the right equipment to knock down the cover crop before planting.
The I & J front-mounted, Cover-Crop Roller meets that challenge by allowing farmers to knock down a weed-suppressing cover-crop mat and plant through it all in one operation, cutting two no-till passes to one.
The I & J Cover-Crop Roller can turn a lush stand of rye and hairy vetch into a thick, weed-suppressing mulch so well it makes observers wonder why herbicides were ever used in no-till farming. One farmer knocked down a cover crop of rye with the roller and planted directly into the residue. Although there were no chemicals involved, it looked so good and the kill was so complete an observer thought it must have been sprayed with herbicides.
The design of the I & J Cover-Crop Roller is based on what didn’t work well with stalk choppers. It uses a single cylinder with two bearings, instead of the chopper’s eight rolling drums and 16 bearings. Chevron-pattern, instead of parallel blades, avoid kicking up soil. A pipe 16 inches in diameter was chosen for the core and four-inch blades proved most effective in tests. The I & J Cover-Crop Roller has tested at 90% minimum crop knockdown and easily handles tough crops like hairy vetch and rye that cause problems for stalk choppers.
Available standard roller widths are 8-ft. (3-row), 10-1/2-ft. (4-row) and 15-1/2-ft. (6-row). Custom-built sizes are also available, up to 40-ft. The roller fits standard Category I or II three-point hitches. I & J Manufacturing also offers a three-point adapter for the fronts of tractors not already equipped with them.