2015 cover crop is on…

For the 4th year we are seeding a cover crop. This morning our local crop duster, who has adapted his plane to aerially seed cover crops, flew the cereal rye on to Mike’s corn. There are 4 good reasons for the cover crop practice: (1) the rye increases organic matter in the soil, (2) the dormant rye keeps the soil covered during the winter months to help prevent topsoil erosion, (3) the rye may help out-compete early weeds next spring, and (4) the rye sequesters (retains) nutrients (N,P, and K) in the soil that could otherwise run off into our Four Mile Creek watershed. Some portion of these nutrients is then available to the crop in the following year. As the saying goes, we don’t want to farm naked. Keep the soil covered all year round if possible.

covercroprye_2015

Todd’s Flying Service seeding cereal rye into our standing corn on September 4, 2015. If you look carefully, you can see the rye seed dropping from the seeder below the biplane wings.

crovercroprye2_2015

Heading west for another run across the standing corn on September 4, 2015. We are applying about 100 lbs. of cereal rye per acre. There are 56 lbs. of seed in one bushel of rye, so we are applying about 1.5 bushels to the acre. The rye seed germinates as the corn crop matures and then when the corn is harvested, the rye continues to grow until it goes dormant over the winter. In the spring the rye turns green again and then we spray it with herbicide so that it will not compete with the new soybean crop next year. The soybeans are then planted directly into the rye stubble.

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