A Wrinkle on Early Harvest to Get Cover Crops in

There are still a few fields in which corn and beans were not harvested from last fall…too much rain. In some cases, growers chose to harvest earlier, however, when the corn had about 27% moisture, rather when it dried out to about 20%. Doing so, this past year, meant a higher yield, but increased the cost to dry the corn out. But, it also meant that those growers had a better chance of planting a cover crop.

Difficulty with planting cover crops last fall may encourage even more to try interseeding, that is, planting a cover crop like annual ryegrass in late spring, when corn is already a foot high or so. This new method has been tested in southern Canada and, in the past couple of years, in the northern Corn Belt. While there is much more testing to do, some have seen an increase in corn yield with the spring cover crop planting.