Cover crops for row crop systems in Northern IL        Dr. Joel Gruver      WIU – Agriculture      j-gruver@wiu.edu
Corn production on land classified as HEL by NRCSAcres per county   200 - 12,000   12,000 – 37,000   37,000 - 62,000   > 6...
Erosion is a serious issue in some       parts of northern IL  County      < 1 *T   1-2*T   > 2*T   Boone       91       6...
http://www.swcs.org/documents/filelibrary/BeyondTreport.pdf
5-10% OM45-50% highly resistant to decomposition     30-35% slowly decomposable   About 15% rapidly decomposable
2-5% OM> 75% highly resistant to decomposition     <20% slowly decomposable     <5 % rapidly decomposable
Prairie soil   Farm field
Have you observed the impact of management on your farm?
Yield per unit of N has increased over the last 30 years                                                       ?    lbs of...
So why does   nutrientpollution from  agriculturecontinue to besuch a serious   problem    in IL?
Has your farm everlooked like this in the last         3 years?
Or this?      Dissipate large amounts of ag    chemicals into the environment…    sometimes the consequences are          ...
Could this story be about your farm?             Increasing yield by installing drainage             By Mindy Ward, Missou...
Yield mapshave made drainage problems   more  obvious
Northern ILcontains alot of soils  that are prone to   nitrate leaching
Peak uptake > 10 lbs ofN/ac/day for high yield corn
Drainage practices should be combined  with practices that reduce leaching                                REDUCTION POTENT...
Cover crops              Less loss Less loss
The science is clear - cover crops can reduce nitrate leaching at lower cost than most other practices!                   ...
What is innovation??     $                 VS    This type of innovation must be     Home grown innovation used on million...
Are you an early adopter? adopt ≠ adapt  Are you a master adapter?Farmers that make cover crops work    tend to be master ...
Have you               attended a               cover crop               field day?If not, make   plans to attend one   in...
If you can’t make it to a field day,   learn about cover crop innovation      through participating in on-line            ...
Cover crops are       not idiot-proof! Using cover crops to capture multiple benefits          requires more managementThe...
Traditional cover cropping in the Midwest                  The          most tried and true       cover cropping system   ...
A lot more cover crops would get planted if we all had a several  month window of opportunity following small grain harvest
Corn and soybeans now cover > 90% of some IL counties                                            corn                     ...
Spreading cover crop seed with fertilizer
Seeding covercrops with liquidmanure
Seeding cover crops with a vertical tillage tool
The CC planting methods shown on theprevious slides are only feasible for a limited #    of acres after harvest in the Cor...
Photo from Joe Nester
Farmers have been using aerial seeding to improve post-harvest grazing for a              long time
Cliff Schuette’s farm in S IL Barkant Turnips-3 lbs      Rye 2 Bu   Airplane $8/Acre  Corn 183 Bu/acre     Atrazine 1 lb  ...
Forage brassicas have good cover crop potential                        http://www.jennifermackenzie.co.uk/2005/12/bra     ...
Set-up for efficient aerial seeding in SE IASteve Nebel
SteveNebel
Steve Nebel
IA and IL Aerial Applicator Survey (May-June 2010)Name                 Location          Experience w/CC        Cost      ...
Don Birky’s seeder in Central IL
Don and Matt Birky’s uniquehighboy with 10 feet and sixinches of clearance could attracta crowd for its high-risingmaneuve...
“I have been building                  a seeder to overseed                  cover crops into corn                  & bean...
“This is the last and greenest field I did. Still has a little time to go yet, but   it should make some corn. Most other ...
“Its kinda hard to tell the seed from the corn pollen. The big lighter pieces are pollen. The smaller darker ones areryegr...
Rig for mid-summer over-seeding into corn in Ontario
New bulletin from Penn State Red clover can be frost seeded into smallgrains in early spring, over seeded into corn   in e...
Planting while harvesting
Dwayne Beck’s set-upfor planting whileharvesting
Combining striptill with cover crops   on Ron Neumiller’s farm
Cover crops planted while stripping    on Joe Rothermel’s farm
Small-seeded legumes and grasses can beplanted using the insecticide boxes of most          corn/soybean planters.   Just ...
Cereal rye inter-seeded with soybean       for in-row weed controlCereal rye and several other CC species that require  ve...
Terry Taylor planted radishes on 30” rows w/ hairy vetch,  crimson clover and Austrian winter peas in fall 2010
Terry Taylor’s new bio-strip-till rig
Planters do a muchbetter job than a drill
A Wheat-Corn-Bean rotation with "tillage" done via RADISHES (!!) into the        wheat stubble every third year! All done ...
A Wheat-Corn-Bean rotation with "tillage" done via RADISHES (!!) into the wheat stubble every third year! All  done with a...
A Wheat-Corn-Bean rotation with "tillage" done via RADISHES (!!) into the wheat stubble every third year! All  done with a...
November 2010Radishes planted on the WIU/AllisonOrganic Research farm on 30” rowsusing milo plates in our corn planter
Some 2011 data Cover crop system          Relative                           corn yield    Volunteer oats           79%Rad...
Cover crops are multi-functional!   Feedlivestock            Cover            Crops                    Adapted from Magdof...
Matching specific objectives with species      #1 way to make CC pay    Grazing    brassicas, clovers, small grains, a. ry...
Managing cover crops profitably, 3rd edition
Be realistic about  potential cover crop      challengesStart planning today for next fall!
Key considerations               How will I seed the cover crop?What will soil temperature and moisture conditions be like...
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
Northern IL 2012
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Northern IL 2012

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I shared this presentation at the Northern IL Farm show on 1/12/2012.

It contains some new slides specific to N IL but also many slides recycled from other presentations

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Northern IL 2012

  1. 1. Cover crops for row crop systems in Northern IL Dr. Joel Gruver WIU – Agriculture j-gruver@wiu.edu
  2. 2. Corn production on land classified as HEL by NRCSAcres per county 200 - 12,000 12,000 – 37,000 37,000 - 62,000 > 62,000 https://www.agronomy.org/publications/aj/articles/96/1/1
  3. 3. Erosion is a serious issue in some parts of northern IL County < 1 *T 1-2*T > 2*T Boone 91 6 2 Bureau 99 1 0 Caroll 84 12 4 DeKalb 94 6 0 Henry 83 10 6 JoDavies 83 12 5 Kendall 97 2 0 LaSalle 97 3 0 Lee 97 2 0 McHenry 93 6 1 Ogle 88 11 1 Stephenson 87 11 3 Winnebago 93 6 1
  4. 4. http://www.swcs.org/documents/filelibrary/BeyondTreport.pdf
  5. 5. 5-10% OM45-50% highly resistant to decomposition 30-35% slowly decomposable About 15% rapidly decomposable
  6. 6. 2-5% OM> 75% highly resistant to decomposition <20% slowly decomposable <5 % rapidly decomposable
  7. 7. Prairie soil Farm field
  8. 8. Have you observed the impact of management on your farm?
  9. 9. Yield per unit of N has increased over the last 30 years ? lbs of grain per lb of N Some IL farmers consistently harvest more than 75 lbs of grain (1.3 bu) for each lb of N applied
  10. 10. So why does nutrientpollution from agriculturecontinue to besuch a serious problem in IL?
  11. 11. Has your farm everlooked like this in the last 3 years?
  12. 12. Or this? Dissipate large amounts of ag chemicals into the environment… sometimes the consequences are severe !http://mckusicklake.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/2007_0327image0001.JPG
  13. 13. Could this story be about your farm? Increasing yield by installing drainage By Mindy Ward, Missouri Farmer Today BOONVILLE --- For more than 100 years, the Hoff family has fought to farm wet areas of their fields. For Eddie Hoff, the fourth generation to farm the creek bottom ground in Cooper County, the loss of yield and added expense of working the ground was ultimately affecting his bottom line. “We were losing 60 to 70 bushels per acre in some spots,” he says. We were working the ground over and over. I just wanted to no-till and save some cost.” So, he decided to drain the soils with pattern tile.
  14. 14. Yield mapshave made drainage problems more obvious
  15. 15. Northern ILcontains alot of soils that are prone to nitrate leaching
  16. 16. Peak uptake > 10 lbs ofN/ac/day for high yield corn
  17. 17. Drainage practices should be combined with practices that reduce leaching REDUCTION POTENTIAL combine summer annuals with winter annuals
  18. 18. Cover crops Less loss Less loss
  19. 19. The science is clear - cover crops can reduce nitrate leaching at lower cost than most other practices! Bare fallow Kaspar et al. J. Environ. Qual. 36:1503-1511
  20. 20. What is innovation?? $ VS This type of innovation must be Home grown innovation used on millions of that fits your acresacres to pay for R&D
  21. 21. Are you an early adopter? adopt ≠ adapt Are you a master adapter?Farmers that make cover crops work tend to be master adapters!
  22. 22. Have you attended a cover crop field day?If not, make plans to attend one in 2012
  23. 23. If you can’t make it to a field day, learn about cover crop innovation through participating in on-line discussionsHow many of you are “Ag Talkers”?
  24. 24. Cover crops are not idiot-proof! Using cover crops to capture multiple benefits requires more managementThere are few profits in idiot-proof systems
  25. 25. Traditional cover cropping in the Midwest The most tried and true cover cropping system in the Midwest region Frost seeded red clover
  26. 26. A lot more cover crops would get planted if we all had a several month window of opportunity following small grain harvest
  27. 27. Corn and soybeans now cover > 90% of some IL counties corn soy
  28. 28. Spreading cover crop seed with fertilizer
  29. 29. Seeding covercrops with liquidmanure
  30. 30. Seeding cover crops with a vertical tillage tool
  31. 31. The CC planting methods shown on theprevious slides are only feasible for a limited # of acres after harvest in the Corn Belt Other options are clearly needed! Student: Which cover crops have you tried? how many acres? following/preceding which crops? Joe Nester replied: We just inter-seeded 14,000 acres of corn and soybeans with annual ryegrass. We used a helicopter service out of Minnesota to seed it. We used annual ryegrass a year ago, seeding with drills after wheat and soybeans, but the planting date was too late to wait after beans. Excellent where seeded after wheat about Sept. 1. Our experience is limited, but the idea is really taking off, to hold the soil in place over the winter, keep nutrients within the field, and help with timely no-till planting in the spring.
  32. 32. Photo from Joe Nester
  33. 33. Farmers have been using aerial seeding to improve post-harvest grazing for a long time
  34. 34. Cliff Schuette’s farm in S IL Barkant Turnips-3 lbs Rye 2 Bu Airplane $8/Acre Corn 183 Bu/acre Atrazine 1 lb Partner April 28
  35. 35. Forage brassicas have good cover crop potential http://www.jennifermackenzie.co.uk/2005/12/bra ssicas.html Hunter
  36. 36. Set-up for efficient aerial seeding in SE IASteve Nebel
  37. 37. SteveNebel
  38. 38. Steve Nebel
  39. 39. IA and IL Aerial Applicator Survey (May-June 2010)Name Location Experience w/CC Cost no exp., no customerCady Aerial Spray Rock Falls, IL interest $8.00/a norm app $8.50/a ccBenoit AerialSpraying Kankakee, IL turnips and rye $8.00/a norm app $10.00/a ccFranks FlyingService Morrison, IL ryegrass and c. rye $8.00/a norm app $10.00/a ccReeds Fly-on yes, c. rye, small partFarming Mattoon, IL of business $8.00/a norm app $12.00/a ccKilliam Flying rye, wheat on beans, $8.00/a norm app $10.00/acService Carlinville, IL rye on corn or 10/lbCurless FlyingService Astoria, IL ryegrass and turnips $8-15.00/a all app.Klein Flying St. Francisville, ~$12.50/a cc,Service IL annual rye and turnips $9.00/a liquid appAgriflite Services Wakarusa, IN rye, wheat, ryegrass ave $15.00/a for cc app.Als Aerial $10-15.00/a ccSpraying Ovid, MI rye and wheat $10.00/a liquid
  40. 40. Don Birky’s seeder in Central IL
  41. 41. Don and Matt Birky’s uniquehighboy with 10 feet and sixinches of clearance could attracta crowd for its high-risingmaneuvers, but the father-sonteam created the specialequipment for a tough job.The highboy, dubbed High Roller,was developed to air seedlegumes and other cover cropsinto standing corn in August. TheBirkys, who operate On TrackFarming Inc. in rural Gibson City,put the highboy through its paceslast week.
  42. 42. “I have been building a seeder to overseed cover crops into corn & beans. Im using a Hagie STS 12 with a Gandy Orbit Air seed box. I can cover 90 feet / 36 rows and the hopper holds 65 bu. “Andy Ambriole’s Highboy air seeder
  43. 43. “This is the last and greenest field I did. Still has a little time to go yet, but it should make some corn. Most other fields are brown with grainmoisture, Im guessing, in the low 20s. The ground is getting more light, so well see if that makes a difference.”
  44. 44. “Its kinda hard to tell the seed from the corn pollen. The big lighter pieces are pollen. The smaller darker ones areryegrass and the little orange balls are crimson clover. The seed mix was 80/20 ryegrass/clover”
  45. 45. Rig for mid-summer over-seeding into corn in Ontario
  46. 46. New bulletin from Penn State Red clover can be frost seeded into smallgrains in early spring, over seeded into corn in early-summer and over seeded into soybeans just before leaf drop.
  47. 47. Planting while harvesting
  48. 48. Dwayne Beck’s set-upfor planting whileharvesting
  49. 49. Combining striptill with cover crops on Ron Neumiller’s farm
  50. 50. Cover crops planted while stripping on Joe Rothermel’s farm
  51. 51. Small-seeded legumes and grasses can beplanted using the insecticide boxes of most corn/soybean planters. Just like granular insecticides, many of the small-seeded forages can be accurately metered directly in-furrow or banded just infront of the press wheel. Setting the double disk openers about 1/2” to 3/4” deep and runningthe seed in-furrow will give the best seed-to-soil contact and probably the best chance of success.
  52. 52. Cereal rye inter-seeded with soybean for in-row weed controlCereal rye and several other CC species that require vernalization will be planted over soybeans rows using the insecticide boxes on our planter in 2012
  53. 53. Terry Taylor planted radishes on 30” rows w/ hairy vetch, crimson clover and Austrian winter peas in fall 2010
  54. 54. Terry Taylor’s new bio-strip-till rig
  55. 55. Planters do a muchbetter job than a drill
  56. 56. A Wheat-Corn-Bean rotation with "tillage" done via RADISHES (!!) into the wheat stubble every third year! All done with a single 60 ft30" planter, RTK and one 60ft toolbar. Fertilizer efficiency is very good with banding, split application and no fall losses. I came away from there thinking I have seen the future of production agriculture, at least in some areas. Sorry to go on so long but this was a very interesting day. The field of tillage radishes was incredible. The size of those things does really seem to break up the soil at least as deep as many tillage tools. I think this may be the future for many folks… I am no longer a skeptic!
  57. 57. A Wheat-Corn-Bean rotation with "tillage" done via RADISHES (!!) into the wheat stubble every third year! All done with a single 60 ft 30" planter, RTK and one 60fttoolbar. Fertilizer efficiency is very good with banding, split application and no fall losses.I came away from there thinking I have seen the future of production agriculture, at least in some areas.Sorry to go on so long but this was a very interesting day. The field of tillage radishes was incredible. The size ofthose things does really seem to break up the soil at least as deep as many tillage tools.
  58. 58. A Wheat-Corn-Bean rotation with "tillage" done via RADISHES (!!) into the wheat stubble every third year! All done with a single 60 ft 30" planter, RTK and one 60fttoolbar. Fertilizer efficiency is very good with banding, split 8625 application and no fall losses. views!!I came away from there thinking I have seen the future of production agriculture, at least in some areas.Sorry to go on so long but this was a very interesting day. The field of tillage radishes was incredible. The size ofthose things does really seem to break up the soil at least as deep as many tillage tools.
  59. 59. November 2010Radishes planted on the WIU/AllisonOrganic Research farm on 30” rowsusing milo plates in our corn planter
  60. 60. Some 2011 data Cover crop system Relative corn yield Volunteer oats 79%Radishes planted on 30” 99%Radishes drilled on 7.5” 91%
  61. 61. Cover crops are multi-functional! Feedlivestock Cover Crops Adapted from Magdoff and Weil (2004)
  62. 62. Matching specific objectives with species #1 way to make CC pay Grazing brassicas, clovers, small grains, a. ryegrass, sorghum-sudan Nutrient scavenging/cycling brassicas, small grains, annual ryegrass Bio-drilling brassicas, 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
  63. 63. Managing cover crops profitably, 3rd edition
  64. 64. Be realistic about potential cover crop challengesStart planning today for next fall!
  65. 65. Key considerations How will I seed the cover crop?What will soil temperature and moisture conditions be like? What weather extremes and field traffic must it tolerate? Will it winterkill in my area? Should it winterkill, to meet my goals? What kind of regrowth can I expect? How will I kill it and plant into it? Will I have the time to make this work? What’s my contingency plan—and risks—if the cover crop doesn’t establish or doesn’t die on schedule? Do I have the needed equipment and labor?

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