With the expectation of a quick and early harvest, the adoption of cover crops may be something more growers try this fall. With combines expected to roll in a few weeks, some growers could see harvest wrapped up by mid-October. This could provide an excellent window for seeding cover crops this fall says Betsy Bower with Ceres Solutions, “Certainly an early end to harvest will provide plenty of time to get cover crops planted and established.”
At this Knowledge Event held in Kosciusko County, Bower says wheat is an attractive option for farmers in northern Indiana, “In this neck of the woods, planting wheat in the fall as a cover crop is a good option since double crop soybeans don’t often work out.” At a cover crop demonstration area of the Mentone field day, there were several types of cover crops planted.
With corn yields expected to be high this year, many fields will need to replenish nitrogen in the soil. Bower said cover crops can help with this process, “Some of the rooting structure we have with cover crops, annual ryegrass and radishes for example, have roots that go deep and can pull some of the nutrients we have down deep and then have it in a plant-useable form. Then when the cover crop is terminated in the spring, it releases that nitrogen into the top layer of the soil for the next crop.”
Yet, with cash receipts tight, making the investment in cover crops could be a tough choice. Bower says there are some options like “NRCS and SWCD to get cover crop funding to get things tried.” For more details on these resources, contact your local SWCD office.