Tag Archives: Purdue University

Annual Ryegrass Helps Weed Control in No-Till Acreage

There are times when evidence from on-farm research, from growers, differs from evidence from university plots. Earlier this year, the long brewing animosity over annual ryegrass emerged again, when Purdue University weed scientist Bill Johnson again claimed that the cover crop is a tough-to-control weed.

Evidence from the field, going back 20 years, suggests otherwise. In a No-Till Farmer article earlier this year, magazine founder and editor Frank Lessiter said that growers tend to follow what works, No-Till Farmer’s benchmark study last year found that 28% of growers seeded annual ryegrass as a cover crop in 2016.

Mike Starkey, former president of the Illinois Soil and Water Conservation District Association, said Purdue has unfairly painted annual ryegrass as a nuisance. In his experience, no-tilling 2,550 acres and using annual ryegrass as a cover crop on all but a sliver of his cover cropped acres, he has found no problem controlling annual ryegrass. In fact, he said that annual ryegrass helps to control other weeds in his fields. “We don’t have many weed concerns, but annual ryegrass suppresses the weeds we do have,” says Starkey. “It also scavenges nitrogen, improves our soil structure and aids in the movement of air and water in the soil.”

Van Tilberg 2011 Hi-Boy Seeder2Dan Towery has promoted annual ryegrass and a host of other cover crops in his decades of work as an agronomist and crop consultant.He said he thinks that Purdue has gone overboard with their objections to annual ryegrass. He maintains some Purdue folks rely too much on what they’ve learned from their own research plots, are not big believers in no-till and have refused opportunities to see how growers are making annual ryegrass work.”

 

Midwest Cover Crop Council Publishes Cover Crop Manual

Producers who want to prevent soil erosion, improve nutrient cycling, sustain their soils, and protect the environment have been returning to a very old practice: planting cover crops.

Although farmers have been using cover crops for centuries, today’s producers are part of a generation that has little experience with them.  As they rediscover the role that cover crops can play in sustainable farming systems, many growers find they lack the experience and information necessary to take advantage of all the potential benefits cover crops can offer.  That inexperience can lead to costly mistakes.

This guide will help you effectively select, grow, and use cover crops in your farming systems.  While this guide isn’t the final word on cover crops, it is meant to be a useful reference.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE AND TO ORDER THE BOOK

http://www.ag.purdue.edu/agry/dtc/Pages/CoverCropsFG.aspx