Showing posts from August, 2013

Fall Planted Cover Crops

August is a great month to plant fall cover crops, especially after wheat harvest. There are three major types of cover crops: Grasses, Brassicas, and Legumes. Grasses (oats, cereal rye) have a fibrous root system and absorb soil nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) while adding soil organic matter. Brassicas (oilseed radish, rape/canola) suppress weeds and insects and reduce soil compaction and add active organic matter. Legumes (crimson clover, winter peas) are nitrogen fixers that add soil nitrogen. Oats are easy fall crop to grow and may also be a source of forage. As a cover crop, drill 1 bushel or 30 to 60 pounds about 0.5 to 1.5 inches deep in the soil. If you are broadcasting seed, increase the seeding rate 10% (works well before a rain). Good seed to soil contact increases growth. Add 40 -50# N which may be in the form of manure, fertilizer, or as a legume companion crop to increase growth by 50% or more. If forage is desired, drill 2 bu,/A and add fertilizer or manure to get 1-3 t