No-Till Drill
No-Till Drill

Cover Crops

Our goal, if mother nature allows, is to incorporate cover crops into each cash crop rotation. As you can see on the site map each 20ac. treatment is split in half with cover crops vs. no cover crops. This will actually give us 6 different scenarios to be analyzing over the five years. Talk about a lot of data!!


2020: The field was wheat, which allowed us to ditch before we dive into a five year, no-till, strip-till scenario. The cover crop was put down using Vance's broadcast seeder on August 17th - see pic in top left corner. The mix this year consisted of Winter Pea, Cow Pea, Radish & Turnip. We left grasses out of the mix because we knew the wheat re-growth would fill in that void and it sure did! So much that we were a little nervous about the thickness so we mowed half the no-till treatment (with and without cover crops) to see if this is something we will have to worry about in the future or not. The rest of the cover crop mix looked great! Spring 2021 showed us the winter beat down the wheat so we wouldn't have had to mow it. We had no problems planting in the no-till plots. Click on the Cover Crop Pics fall 2020 to see pictures. 


2021: The cash crop was corn in 2021. We flew the cover crop into the standing corn on August 23rd. We only flew the cover crop onto the no-till and strip-till cover crop plots hoping to broadcast the conventional cover crop plot after corn harvest and one round of tillage. The mix consisted of Cereal Rye, Winter Camelina, Cow Pea, Winter Pea, Turnip, Radish and Hairy Vetch. We got a nice rain that helped the covers germinate in the standing corn and after the corn was harvested it really took off! We broadcast the cover crop mix in the conventional plot on November 7th. With no rain and cool temps nothing germinated until spring 2022. The cereal rye was prevalent in all three cover crop plots in the spring before we planted the sugar beets. We had a lot of moisture in the spring so we had a nice stand of rye! Click on the link labeled Cover Crop pics 2021 to watch the transition of the cover crops from fall to spring.  


2022: Our cash crop was sugar beets in 2022. The covers were flown on to all three cover crop plots on October 4th with harvest beginning October 6th. The multi specie mix consisted of Winter Camelina, Winter Pea, Oats, Radish, Turnip, Common Vetch, and Flax. Our goal was to get good seed to soil contact by flying them on just before harvest and letting the beet lifter mix the seed in the soil. We visited the site multiple times this fall and not one seed germinated. We will be checking the fields this spring to see if any seed made it through the winter.