Articles, Blog

Utilizing Multispecies Cover Crops (Hall 3/6)

This is a very short clip, butJesse
talks about how multi-species cover crops have helped him in many aspects of his cash crop farming operation. We’ve been experimenting with some different things as the last couple years have gone on and of course we don’t have it all
figured out but I think we’re getting to that point now where we got something
that’s gonna work pretty good for us. The cover crops that I like best I guess for us would be putting in like a rye, a turnip, and a rapeseed mix in after the oats that way it’s good for grazing and then you know your brassicas will frost
kill and then the next year you got that rye that comes up and then we can plant
our soybeans into that rye and no-tilling beans into rye you just can’t believe the difference between that and just
going into straight corn stubble. You know, the roots, its basically kind of like planting into a golf course. I mean the soil structure is beautiful,
your infiltration rates are beautiful and that early rye growth basically
uses up a lot of that excess moisture in those wet spots you normally can’t
traffic through. Like I said it’s unbelievable the difference that rye
makes for trafficability and then for using up some of that excess water.
A lot of people are concerned about using up that water and they think that
it’s gonna be competing against water in the growing season which isn’t
the case. I’ve never experienced that problem, it’s been
nothing but an attribute you know for helping us get in there and taking
away the excessive moisture. You know the big thing is you got to
get your rye in at the right time and the spring growth is the big thing, you know, if you can raise your small grain you can plant your rye right around that 20th of September or before and in the springtime you know you can be planting
into rye that’s three feet tall. Once its that tall it’s really doing something and when you go over the top with your drill it just lays over a nice
mat you know it’s basically a mulch and it helps choke out all the weeds. It
really works well. Say you’re in just a straight corn-soybean rotation, you’re in
a very low carbon environment and very, very porous soil structure.
When you go and you try plant into that you basically you make a furrow and
it creates a sidewalls on the side and those roots can’t penetrate through that
then they just kind of grow straight down.

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