Cover crops for organic field crops in MN
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Cover crops for organic field crops in MN



i shared this presentation at the MN Organic Conference on 1/12/2013

i shared this presentation at the MN Organic Conference on 1/12/2013



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Cover crops for organic field crops in MN Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Cover cropsfor organic field cropping systems in MN Joel Gruver WIU- Agriculture (309) 298 1215
  • 2. Almost500 miles! Macomb
  • 3. Macomb IL Apr 21 Oct 11 180
  • 4. 15.4% ↑
  • 5. Historically, 10.6% ↑ than Saint Cloud 29% more GDD @ 40F
  • 6. Very few opportunities for CC before or after corn and soybeans
  • 7. Many more opportunities for CC after wheat, barley, oats, rye, peas…
  • 8. small grains + warm season grasses + a. ryegrass + buckwheat + flax mustard + radish + rapeseed/canola + turnip alfalfa + clovers + vetch + peas + soybeans 6 mixtures of c. rye, a. ryegrass, c. clover, oats, radish, peas + vetch
  • 9. Crop planted on 5/15 andharvested on 10/1
  • 10. Crop planted on 4/15 andharvested on 8/15
  • 11. MCCC website also provides links tolots of good extension publications
  • 12. Lots of potential cover crop species are described in this publication
  • 13. Wisconsin data suggest that approximately 70% of whole-plant N will become available in the first yearfollowing clover, most released before corn begins its period of rapid uptake.
  • 14. Usually, the best conditions for frost seeding occur in mid to late March. Low overnight temperatures cause the surface to freezeand crack. Warm daytime temperatures thaw the surface, sealing the cracks. If daytime thawing occurs, the daily “window” for seeding lasts only a few hours, beginning at dawn. With subfreezing daytime temperatures, seeding can occur anytimeduring the day. Seed can be broadcast until mid-April if cracks are present and the traditional frost-seeding window is missed.
  • 15. Gary Sommers’ farm in Clinton, Wisconsin, is just down the road from his boyhoodhome. He grows corn, soybeans, and winter wheat on 1,475 of his 1,500 acres. Theremaining 25 acres are enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.Gary mainly uses cover crops on his steeper fields. Usually he sows cover crops—including buckwheat, soybeans, oats, and Berseem clover—after harvesting winterwheat in mid-July. The following spring he plants these fields to corn. Cover cropswhich do not winter-kill are terminated in the fall to prevent corn planting delays.
  • 16. Match CC objectives with species Grazing GRAZING = #1 way to make cover crops pay! brassicas, clovers, alfalfa, small grains, annual ryegrass, sorghum-sudan Nutrient scavenging/cycling brassicas, small grains, annual ryegrass Bio-drilling brassicas, annual ryegrass, sugarbeet, sunflower, sorghum-sudan sweet clover, alfalfa N-fixationclovers, vetches, lentil, winter pea, chickling vetch, sun hemp, cowpea, soybean Bio-activation/fumigation brassicas, sorghum-sudan, sun hemp, sesame Weed suppression brassicas, sorghum-sudan, cereal rye, buckwheat
  • 17. Forage kale Oats, turnips, annual ryegrass and wheatOats, turnips and cereal rye Mystery brassica
  • 18. On farms with livestock, manyfailures can be turned into success!
  • 19. Franzluebbers AJ and JA Stuedemann. 2008. Soil physical responses to cattle grazing cover crops under conventional and no tillage in the Southern Piedmont USA. Soil and Tillage Research 100, 141-153. Cover crops (winter or summer) can provide high- quality forage and increase economic return and farmdiversity, but some farmers have been reluctant to take this advantage due to perceived “compaction” caused by animal trampling.Grazing of cover crops can compact soil, but not to the detrimental levels often perceived.
  • 20. Crop Rotation on Organic Farms: A Planning Manual provides anin-depth review of the applications of crop rotation-including improving soil quality and health,and managing pests, diseases, and weeds. Consulting with expertorganic farmers, the authors share rotation strategies that can be applied under various field conditions and with a wide range of crops. Crop Rotation on Organic Farms is most applicable to farms in the Northeastern United States andEastern Canada but is worth a look
  • 21. Start planning today! • Anticipate planting windows • Match objectives with species • Confirm seed availability• Make sure seeding equipment is ready• Identify realistic termination methods • Allocate labor • Develop contingency plans
  • 22. When can you plant CCs? • Dormant seeding early or late winter • Frost seeding • In the spring • In the spring w/ cash crop • Prevent plant scenarios • At last cultivation • After small grains • After vegetables • After seed corn or silage corn• Aerial or high clearance seeding into standing crops in late summer/early fall • After long season crops
  • 23. What is this CC? Phacelia
  • 24. WIU Organic research farm – May 2012
  • 25. Very denserooting at the soil surface
  • 26. Mustard variety trial at the Allison farm in early June 2011 Pacific Gold Ida Gold Slower to mature Faster to mature More biomass Less biomass
  • 27. JD 730 Air-Disk drill on Jack Erisman’s farm in Pana, IL Jack uses this rig to drill soybeans on 6" rows(~ 280,000/ac) while also dropping ~2 bushel of rye and some micronutrients
  • 28. Zumbrun FarmNorthern Indiana
  • 29. Drilling cover crops after small grain harvest
  • 30. There are many options other than drilling
  • 31. Magness Farm in Maryland
  • 32. Slurry seeding
  • 33. What is PRECISION COVER CROPPING?? 1) Planting of cover crops with a precision planter2) strategic placement of cover crop rows in relationto other cover cover rows and/or the following cash crop rows (often using GPS guidance) 3) Strategic placement of cover crops in specific fields or parts of fields 4) Selection and management of cover crops to achieve specific objectives
  • 34. Precision planting
  • 35.
  • 36. Insecticide boxes can be used for metering small seeds
  • 37. Joe Rothermel’s new rig
  • 38. Cover crops planted with insecticide boxes while stripping
  • 39. September 2008
  • 40. Attempt #3 Radish planted on 30” rows usingsmall milo plates in mid-August 2010
  • 41. Corn following cover crop experiment (2011) Relative Cover crop system corn yield Volunteer oats 79% Radishes planted on 30” 99% Radishes drilled on 7.5” 91%Corn planted directly over radish rows
  • 42. May 2012
  • 43. Radish planted on 30” rows with RTK guidance on August 29th right before Hurricane Isaac rolled in
  • 44. 4 days later
  • 45. 7 days after planting
  • 46. 10 days after planting
  • 47. ~ 1 month later
  • 48. Why are the inter-rows so clean?
  • 49. We had just cultivated the radishes!
  • 50. ~ 2 weeks later
  • 51. December 2012We are planning to “freshen” the radish rowswith a Yetter strip till bar before planting corn directly over the radish rows
  • 52. Precision radishes w/o peasPrecision planted radishes w/ peas from 5 ft of row
  • 53. What is the optimal seeding rate for precision planted radishes? 4-6 seeds per foot is probably often thebest ROI but ~16 seeds per foot produced the most biomass for us this fall higher is probably better the later you plant
  • 54. Radishes in fall 2011 ~ 20 more bushels/a where we cultivated in the fall
  • 55. Ridges withdead radish residues in spring 2011
  • 56. Planting popcornon radish ridges in May 2011
  • 57. Planted beautifullybut we decided to replant after amonth of relentless rain :-<
  • 58. Fall 2011
  • 59. Fall 2012
  • 60. Crimson Chick clover peasGreen Favalentils beans
  • 61. Sunflower OatsRapeseed Phacelia
  • 62. We are trying to identify the best combinations of winter hardy and winter-kill CCs for row and inter-row positions
  • 63. A little extra N can make a big difference +20 lbs N/a Radish biomass = 2X
  • 64. Same planter pass5 buffer rows were not Preceded by spring preceded by a CC planted radish Most years the extra transpiration would probably have been helpful on this wet farm
  • 65. Last summer, we undercut our small grain stubble using a no-till cultivator and a tractor with RTK guidance
  • 66. Cover crop cocktailFallow strip no-till drilled after undercutting
  • 67. Triple S mixSunflowers, Soybeans & Sunnhemp
  • 68. Effective multi-tasking or cover crop chaos???
  • 69.
  • 70. Planting into poorly digested red clover residues 25-50% stand loss Near perfect stands in all other corn plots on the farm this past spring
  • 71. Annual ryegrass after chisel plowing Chisel plowing made the next pass with a rotavator easier and more effective
  • 72. No-till drilling soybeans into standing rye Early June 2011
  • 73. 15’ wide roller built by a local farmer
  • 74. Mid-June 2011Rolled after drilling
  • 75. Early July 2011
  • 76. Our conventional-till beans are looking good, right?
  • 77. August 2011
  • 78. November 2011The NT bean plots yielded~10 bu more than the best tillage system plots
  • 79. April 2012In our experience, a strong stand of rye is critical
  • 80. Planting into 5-6’ tall rye on May 11
  • 81. Double drilled with 4” offset
  • 82. June 2012
  • 83. All of July :-<
  • 84. Our 2012 NT bean yields ranged from ~ 30 to ~ 60 bu/a Wet hole yielded very well Better drained areas of the field yielded poorly
  • 85. CCs affect many agronomic factors simultaneously Control erosion Feed livestock Cover Crops Adapted from Magdoff and Weil (2004)
  • 86. Not all effects are positive Host pests Tie up N ? ? Become a weed Interfere w/ equipment performanceSuppress crop growth Cover Crops Dry out soil Prevent excessively soil drying Add cost Increase management Adapted from Magdoff and Weil (2004)
  • 87. Greater precision in your covercropping practices will increase the likelihood of intended outcomes More positive and fewer negative effects
  • 88. I wish you all success in 2013!