The increasingly popular practice of interseeding annual ryegrass and other cover crops into spring corn continues to receive attention. Why?
- In the Northern Corn Belt, growers find efficiency to seed cover crops in the spring, rather than the fall, when the window of opportunity for planting is very slim – between harvest and onset of winter.
- The annual ryegrass gets established in young corn, but goes nearly dormant when the corn foliage creates too much shadow for more cover crop growth beneath it.
- Interseeding annual ryegrass does not compete with the corn for nutrients or moisture, given that it goes nearly dormant.
- Once the harvest is complete in the fall, the annual ryegrass picks up where it left off in the spring. The fact that the cover crop is already well established increases the chances it will survive the winter weather.
It’s important to interseed the cover crop into corn that is about knee high. Dan Towery, an expert in interseeding, says that you want to let the corn get at least to V4 stage before planting the ryegrass. Otherwise it might compete with the corn for sunlight.
For more information, you can contact Towery at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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