<ul><li>By </li></ul><ul><li>Craig Askim/Extension Agent </li></ul><ul><li>Mercer County </li></ul>
What is a cover crop?
Does it really matter?
Why do we have agriculture? How long will we need it? What does it take to raise crops and livestock?
  The North Dakota experience was difficult, expensive and unprofitable.
Background Information <ul><li>Mercer County – Beulah, ND </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Located about 80 miles northwest of Bismar...
Mercer County
Selecting the Best Cover Crop <ul><li>What is the goal? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Break weed and insect cycles </li></ul></ul>...
Factors to Consider <ul><li>Yield stability </li></ul><ul><li>Economic return </li></ul><ul><li>Equipment availability </l...
More Factors to Consider <ul><li>Timing /Long term plan </li></ul><ul><li>Current/Next year’s crop </li></ul><ul><li>Curre...
Pesticides of Concern <ul><li>Crops </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wide –Match </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dicamba </li></ul></ul><u...
Purpose  <ul><li>Encourage the use of a variety of alternative forages for grazing and feed such as turnips, hairy vetch, ...
Soil Armor <ul><li>Cover crops protect soil from damaging winds, water, and high temperatures.  </li></ul>
Soil Temperatures <ul><li>Soil bacteria die at 140° F. </li></ul><ul><li>100% of moisture is lost due to evaporation and t...
Total Benefits <ul><li>Decrease inputs – long term </li></ul><ul><li>Decrease weed competition </li></ul><ul><li>Provides ...
Adding Alternative Feed and Forage to FarmingRanching Operations <ul><li>Improve the native rangeland health and vigor by ...
Resource Concerns Being Addressed Locally <ul><li>Pasture grazing rotation  </li></ul><ul><li>Erosion  </li></ul><ul><li>C...
2007 Start-up Trials  <ul><li>Five sites  </li></ul><ul><li>Simple forage mixtures  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Three-way mixtur...
2007 – Trials  <ul><li>Journey Peas  70#/acre </li></ul><ul><li>Everleaf Oats 30#/acre </li></ul><ul><li>Hairy Vetch 10#/a...
2008 – Trials  <ul><li>Nine Sites  </li></ul><ul><li>More complex mixtures  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Three to eight way mixtu...
2008 Trials
2008 Trials
2008 Trials
Site # 6  <ul><li>Oats  16.0 lbs/ac  </li></ul><ul><li>Winter Rye 12.0 lbs/ac  </li></ul><ul><li>Millet 4.0 lbs/ac  </li><...
COVER CROP – After Harvesting <ul><li>Turnips  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 lbs/acre </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Purpose </li></ul><...
2009 Trials <ul><li>More of the same few changes </li></ul><ul><li>Different cafeteria mixes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cowpea ...
Cover crop options for  row crops <ul><li>No clear answer </li></ul><ul><li>Many options </li></ul><ul><li>Interseed with ...
Cover crop options for  small grains: <ul><li>Direct seed into stubble </li></ul><ul><li>Seed legume with crop </li></ul><...
Cover crop options for  grazing <ul><li>Type of Livestock </li></ul><ul><li>Time of year </li></ul><ul><li>Cover crop </li...
Overall Factors to Consider <ul><li>Timing/Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Pesticide use </li></ul><ul><li>Cost </li></ul>
Summary <ul><li>Many factors to consider </li></ul><ul><li>Using cover crops is working in North Dakota  </li></ul><ul><li...
Thank You! <ul><li>Craig Askim/Extension Agent </li></ul><ul><li>Mercer County </li></ul>Craig Askim NDSU Extension Servic...
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The Use of Cover Crops in Western North Dakota

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The Use of Cover Crops in Western North Dakota

  1. 1. <ul><li>By </li></ul><ul><li>Craig Askim/Extension Agent </li></ul><ul><li>Mercer County </li></ul>
  2. 2. What is a cover crop?
  3. 3. Does it really matter?
  4. 4. Why do we have agriculture? How long will we need it? What does it take to raise crops and livestock?
  5. 5. The North Dakota experience was difficult, expensive and unprofitable.
  6. 6. Background Information <ul><li>Mercer County – Beulah, ND </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Located about 80 miles northwest of Bismarck, ND </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Population, 8000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>455 farms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Average size 1,200 acres </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>37,000 head of cattle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Main farm income in county </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Mercer County
  8. 8. Selecting the Best Cover Crop <ul><li>What is the goal? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Break weed and insect cycles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Planting sod crops </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce amount of fertilizer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Add organic matter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve soil structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce erosion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remove excess water </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Factors to Consider <ul><li>Yield stability </li></ul><ul><li>Economic return </li></ul><ul><li>Equipment availability </li></ul><ul><li>Registered pesticides and herbicides </li></ul><ul><li>Impact on crop rotation </li></ul><ul><li>Crop adaptation </li></ul>
  10. 10. More Factors to Consider <ul><li>Timing /Long term plan </li></ul><ul><li>Current/Next year’s crop </li></ul><ul><li>Current weed pressures </li></ul><ul><li>Moisture conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Past pesticide seed crop rotation restrictions </li></ul>
  11. 11. Pesticides of Concern <ul><li>Crops </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wide –Match </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dicamba </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Curtail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Huskie </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spartan </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CRP Breakout </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tordon , Milestone, Plateau, Curtail </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Purpose <ul><li>Encourage the use of a variety of alternative forages for grazing and feed such as turnips, hairy vetch, triticale, winter rye, oats, and peas. </li></ul><ul><li>Promote prescribed grazing systems and diversity in no-till cropping systems. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Soil Armor <ul><li>Cover crops protect soil from damaging winds, water, and high temperatures. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Soil Temperatures <ul><li>Soil bacteria die at 140° F. </li></ul><ul><li>100% of moisture is lost due to evaporation and transpiration at 130° F. </li></ul><ul><li>At 100° F. – 15% of the moisture is utilized for growth and 85% is lost to evaporation and transpiration </li></ul><ul><li>At 70° F. nearly 100% of the moisture is used for growth </li></ul>
  15. 15. Total Benefits <ul><li>Decrease inputs – long term </li></ul><ul><li>Decrease weed competition </li></ul><ul><li>Provides second crop – haying or grazing </li></ul><ul><li>Increases soil health </li></ul><ul><li>Increases organic matter </li></ul>
  16. 16. Adding Alternative Feed and Forage to FarmingRanching Operations <ul><li>Improve the native rangeland health and vigor by earlier removal of livestock </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain a stable and desired plant community </li></ul><ul><li>Enhance nutrient cycling through crop diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Improve animal health and productivity </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce soil erosion </li></ul><ul><li>Improve soil condition for sustainability of the resource </li></ul><ul><li>Increase soil organic matter </li></ul><ul><li>Improve ground water quality and infiltration </li></ul><ul><li>Minimize contained feeding duration </li></ul>
  17. 17. Resource Concerns Being Addressed Locally <ul><li>Pasture grazing rotation </li></ul><ul><li>Erosion </li></ul><ul><li>Crop & hayland health </li></ul><ul><li>Noxious weeds </li></ul><ul><li>Ag waste </li></ul><ul><li>Water quality </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Wildlife habitat </li></ul><ul><li>Soil quality health </li></ul><ul><li>Wetland health </li></ul>
  18. 18. 2007 Start-up Trials <ul><li>Five sites </li></ul><ul><li>Simple forage mixtures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Three-way mixtures </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Purpose: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Planned for haying or grazing </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. 2007 – Trials <ul><li>Journey Peas 70#/acre </li></ul><ul><li>Everleaf Oats 30#/acre </li></ul><ul><li>Hairy Vetch 10#/acre </li></ul><ul><li>Seeding Date: 4-28-07 </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose: Haying or Grazing </li></ul>
  20. 20. 2008 – Trials <ul><li>Nine Sites </li></ul><ul><li>More complex mixtures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Three to eight way mixtures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cool season broadleaf </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Warm season broadleaf </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Warm season grass </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Different seeding windows </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Early Spring (April 1 – June 15) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Summer (June 15 – Aug 15) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fall (Aug. 15 – Sept. 20) </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. 2008 Trials
  22. 22. 2008 Trials
  23. 23. 2008 Trials
  24. 24. Site # 6 <ul><li>Oats 16.0 lbs/ac </li></ul><ul><li>Winter Rye 12.0 lbs/ac </li></ul><ul><li>Millet 4.0 lbs/ac </li></ul><ul><li>Soybeans 4.5 lbs/ac </li></ul><ul><li>Turnips 0.8 lbs/ac </li></ul><ul><li>Chicory 1.0 lbs/ac </li></ul><ul><li>Seeded Date: June 27, 2008 </li></ul>Chicory Turnip Oats and Winter Rye
  25. 25. COVER CROP – After Harvesting <ul><li>Turnips </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 lbs/acre </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Purpose </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Living root thru growing season </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plant Diversity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nutrient Cycling </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Seeding Date </li></ul><ul><ul><li>7-25-08 </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. 2009 Trials <ul><li>More of the same few changes </li></ul><ul><li>Different cafeteria mixes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cowpea gave little benefit for the cost </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Turnips, winter rye, buckwheat, radishes show most potential </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cafeteria mixes perform less than stand alone crops </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Cover crop options for row crops <ul><li>No clear answer </li></ul><ul><li>Many options </li></ul><ul><li>Interseed with row crops </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Corn, sunflowers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seeding legumes between rows adds nitrogen, weed control, and water usage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Black lentil, black medic, hairy vetch </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Cover crop options for small grains: <ul><li>Direct seed into stubble </li></ul><ul><li>Seed legume with crop </li></ul><ul><li>Use of bi-annual crops </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sweet clover , red clover </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Cover crop options for grazing <ul><li>Type of Livestock </li></ul><ul><li>Time of year </li></ul><ul><li>Cover crop </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Following hay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Following crop </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Overall Factors to Consider <ul><li>Timing/Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Pesticide use </li></ul><ul><li>Cost </li></ul>
  31. 31. Summary <ul><li>Many factors to consider </li></ul><ul><li>Using cover crops is working in North Dakota </li></ul><ul><li>Still many questions to address </li></ul>
  32. 32. Thank You! <ul><li>Craig Askim/Extension Agent </li></ul><ul><li>Mercer County </li></ul>Craig Askim NDSU Extension Service Mercer County 1400 Hwy 49 N #103 Beulah, ND 58523 (701) 873-5195 [email_address]

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