Spring is, for cover croppers, the time to kill your cover crop before planting cash crops – corn or soybeans. For others, spring is also the time to plant annual ryegrass as a cover crop!
Interseeding is the name for putting out annual ryegrass seed in the spring, when your corn is established but before it reaches knee-high. There are a couple of reasons to consider doing it this way:
- You avoid having to squeeze in a fall planting of annual ryegrass, when harvest and weather and field conditions can play havoc
- The annual ryegrass will be well established in the fall when you take off the corn. It will have been sitting nearly dormant all summer – in the shade of the corn foliage – but its root structure will have been expanding, inching its way into the earth. This makes the grass more resilient to colder fall temperatures, and more likely to winter over in the field.
- You can plant the cover crop with the same equipment used for side dressing the corn, thus creating efficiencies in your operation.
For those interested in interseeding principles and practices, check out this flyer. Below, a cover crop mix of annual ryegrass and clover established in the spring as corn grows to each side.