Tag Archives: weed suppression

Interseeding Webinar – Seeding Annual Ryegrass and other Cover Crops in the Spring

This spring, the University of Pennsylvania conduced a webinar on the subject of interseeding.

As you may have read here in past blog posts, interseeding is done in the late spring, when corn and beans are sufficiently established (v 6 in corn) to plant annual ryegrass or another cover crop between the corn or bean rows. This planting is done with customized equipment – often a sprayer retrofitted with an air seeder. Some are combining this seeding effort with a side dress of nitrogen, to give the cover crop and the corn some boost.

 

2015 Interseeding MN

Interseeding has the benefits of being planted when there’s more time…trying to plant in the fall, around harvest, is often complicated with the harvest itself and sometimes weather. Interseeding has the added benefit of establishing a cover crop in the spring – which then goes semi dormant in the shade of summer foliage – and then its being able to get a good growth spurt in the fall after harvest. The early establishment of the cover crop thus increases the chances for the crop to survive the winter. It also acts as an effective weed suppressor.

Click here to access the webinar on interseeding.

New Annual Ryegrass Management Guide for 2016

ARG in Quebec - November photoClick here for the new “Quick Guide” for managing Annual Ryegrass as a cover crop.

In addition to new tips for seeding, the guide also outlines an emerging problem for managing cover crops in the Midwest. Many farmers use residual herbicides in the field to control weeds like marestail and waterhemp.

The lifespan of some of these herbicides extends into the next growing season for cover crops and have been shown to have a “carryover” effect on the success of the cover crop.

In the next post, we’ll outline more details on the types of herbicides to watch out for and how to continue using cover crops, too.

EPA Steps on Intro of Dow’s Enlist Duo

Combining glyphosate with other herbicides to increase the killing effect of the application has been used for many years. See our brochure on annual ryegrass management for specifics on this.

Earlier in the year, EPA allowed 15 states the green light to using Enlist Duo, a combination of glyphosate with a form of 2,4-D. But last week, the EPA filed suit to halt the distribution and sale of Enlist Duo, saying new information provided about the product by Dow “that suggests (the) two active ingredients could result in greater toxicity to non-target plants.”

EPA plans further review while Dow seeks to find a way to get clearance for the product for the 2016 season, including suggesting it might be able to modify the formulation somewhat or stipulate use conditions for the product.

Field Day for Cover Crops in Illinois

MO-Matt-Volkman-NRCS-ARG-field-shot.jpgA cover crop field day has been scheduled at two locations in Illinois’ Coe Township, convened by the Rock Island Soil & Water Conservation District.(See below for specifics)

According to an article in the Dispatch-Argus paper in Moline, IL, cover crops continue to prove their value, both in building soil health and improving profits for growers. Here’s a segment of the article (if you want to read the whole thing, click here)

Cover crops lengthen the growing season of live plant material with many winter annual species like winter wheat, cereal rye and annual ryegrass maintaining live root systems under the soil surface during the winter months providing food for soil microbes to stay active.  Currently, idle crop fields become biological deserts in which soil microbes reduce in population with limited food resources.  Some covers like cereal rye and annual ryegrass also provide biological weed control in crop fields during the early portion of the growing season.  This helps reduce the amount of pesticides that need to be used.”

“Those benefits include reduced soil erosion, enhancement of soil biology through increased microbial activity and the development of higher organic levels, improved water quality from reduced run-off along with the capture of un-used phosphorus and nitrogen making those nutrients available for the next cropping season.”

Location of the field days:

Wed. Nov 5th – DePauw farm, located at 122nd Ave N, in Port Byron, IL.

Thurs. Nov. 6th. – the Anderson Farm located ½ mile east of Sherrard High School or west of the junction of 176th Ave W and 63rd St. W.

For more information and reservations call the Rock Island SWCD office at (309) 764-1486 ext. 3.

Annual Ryegrass – Part of a “Sustainable” Soil Future

SARE: Sustainable Agriculture Research and EducationIf you want to build soil without investing much in a cover crop, consider annual ryegrass. A quick-growing, non-spreading bunch grass, annual ryegrass is a reliable, versatile performer almost anywhere, assuming adequate moisture and fertility. It does a fine job of holding soil, taking up excess N and outcompeting weeds.

Ryegrass is an excellent choice for building soil structure in orchards, vineyards and other cropland to enhance water infiltration, water-holding capacity or irrigation efficiency. It can reduce soil splash on solanaceous crops and small fruit crops, decreasing disease and increasing forage quality. You also can overseed ryegrass readily into corn, soybeans and many high-value crops.

Successful Tips for Cover Crops

In a recent article on Ag.com by Edith Munro, Dan Towery offered these tips for cover crop success.

varner arg michigan 4-08 (2)

 

Cover crop decisions can be initially overwhelming. “Details – especially timing – are critical,” says Dan Towery, president of Ag Conservation Solutions and Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Here are five questions and tips Towery gives to guide you if you are considering a cover crop.

1. What do you want to accomplish with a cover crop?
Cover crops offer a range of possible benefits that include:
• Reducing erosion.
• Reducing soil compaction.
• Scavenging nitrogen.
• Fixing nitrogen.
• Increasing organic matter.
• Improving weed control.
• Increasing water infiltration.
• Improving soil biological activity.
• Matching goals with cover crop selection is essential.

Selecting a maximum of three is the first step to narrowing the list of cover
crops to consider.

2. How will you plant it and when? 
Planting method and timing are key interrelated decisions. Traditionally, the best seed-to-soil contact comes from drilling, but that must occur after harvest. In the Upper Midwest, seeding that late limits the cover crop options.

3. What will follow the cover crop in your rotation?
Since some cover crops tie up nitrogen, it is especially important to consider the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of the covers being considered if the following crop will be corn.

4. Which cover crop will you plant? 
Multiple options are available depending on location. Consider using the Midwest Cover Crop Council’s Cover Crop Decision Tool.

The tool provides customized guidance for Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Ontario, and Wisconsin. It allows you to plug location, cash crop, planting and harvest dates, and cover crop objectives to narrow the list of cover crop choices that match your specific conditions.

Two books offer more detailed information:

  • Managing Cover Crops Profitably (Third Edition), published by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (sare.org)
  • Cover Crops Field Guide, from the Midwest Cover Crops Council.

5. How will you terminate your cover crop? 
Towery recommends planning early and killing the tougher cover crops early. Some cover crops will winterkill on their own, and some may be easy to kill. Others may require following fairly specific instructions to terminate.

Once you have completed your initial research and have decided on a potential list of cover crops, Towery recommends planting a small trial plot to become familiar with various cover crop traits.

“It can be as small as 10×10 feet. Look for opportunities where you can watch how your cover crops do through a fall-winter-spring cycle,” he suggests. “A sweet corn patch is good, or if you have a small wheat or corn silage field.”

Success with cover crops requires a systems approach, Towery says. “The reason some growers can make cover crops work but their neighbors can’t isn’t complex. It’s all about attention to details and timing.

“Doing the homework minimizes unpleasant surprises. You must complete all the steps for success,” he says.

 

 

 

SARE Describes Benefits of ARG Cover Crop

If you want to build soil without investing much in a cover crop, consider annual ryegrass. This is from the website of the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education. For the whole page, click here.

The summary goes on:

A quick-growing, non-spreading bunch grass, annual ryegrass is a reliable, versatile performer almost anywhere, assuming adequate moisture and fertility. It does a fine job of holding soil, taking up excess N and outcompeting weeds.

Ryegrass is an excellent choice for building soil structure in orchards, vineyards and other cropland to enhance water infiltration, water-holding capacity or irrigation efficiency. It can reduce soil splash on solanaceous crops and small fruit crops, decreasing disease and increasing forage quality. You also can overseed ryegrass readily into corn, soybeans and many high-value crops.

Annual Ryegrass – Manage it Properly

Managing annual ryegrass is not rocket science…but it is all about science. Therefore, being precise about the process of killing the cover crop is important.

In prior posts, you’ve learned about the timing, the weather, the proper mix of glyphosate, adding AMS and balancing the water hardness with citric acid if needed. Some add a surfactant and even 2,4-D for better control and to get rid of other broadleaf weeds at the same time.

By now, you may have seen already whether one full-rate application of glyphosate was enough. Inspecting the field a week after the first application is smart. Look closely. Any sign of green warrants another application.

After your corn or soybean crop emerges, you can control any annual ryegrass escapes with a labeled rate of Accent Q, Steadfast Q, or Option, but best control is obtained with these products when temperatures are above 70 degrees.

For more information, check out the website or download a comprehensive four-page brochure.

Annual Ryegrass Touted in SARE Cover Crop Videos

In a series of videos produced by Sustainable Ag Research & Education (SARE): called Cover Crop Innovators, Midwest farmers talk about their experience with annual ryegrass and other cover crops.Click here for the whole series:

Or, click here to see the video on Indiana farmer Jamie Scott

Click here to see the video on Indiana farmer Dan DeSutter

SARE Ties with DuPont-Pioneer on Cover Crops

In February, a select group of 300 cover crop experts gathered in Omaha to discuss the prospect of massively enlarging the number of cover crop acres in the Midwest.

At present, there’s an estimated 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 acres of corn and soybean cropland now being improved with cover crops each year. The meeting’s purpose – to explore how to expand that number to 20 million acres in the next six years.

Click here to see presentations of innovative growers who are showing the way how we’ll get there.