Heavy and continual rains throughout the spring and early summer have caused many acres around the region to be prevented planted. Cover crops are an excellent way to protect and improve those acres.
Cover crops are a great way to build soil health, build soil structure, break up compacted ground, and prevent erosion. Cover crops are also a great way to fight the weed competition throughout the summer.
Cover crops are also an excellent option on your small grain acres to provide cover throughout the fall and winter as well as work to build the soil health in those acres. Cover crops planted on wheat stubble in early fall can also be an excellent cattle grazing option later in the fall.
There are a couple of things to remember with prevented planted acres. One is that if a cover crop is planted it cannot be hayed or grazed upon until November 1st to receive the full prevented planted payment. Another is if any chemicals were applied to the land this spring they may have carry over onto a possible cover crop mix.
When choosing a cover crop you can look for different characteristics in the mix. Mixes can be used for nitrogen scavenging, breaking up compacted ground, erosion protection, nitrogen fixing or for late season grazing.
Two mix options we have available are our soil building mix and mid-late season grazing mix. The soil building mix is 58% forage barley, 15% crimson clover, 15% lentils, 8% radish and 4% turnip. This mix should be planted at 26 lbs/acre. The mid-late season grazing mix is 60% forage oats, 20% grazing sudan, 12% lentils, 4% forage turnip and 4% radish. This mix should be planted at 40 lbs/acre. Both are excellent options to build soil health, protect against erosion and scavenge for nitrogen.
Also note that there may be cost sharing opportunities for cover crops available through your local FSA office. Contact your local FSA rep to see if anything is available in your area.
These two mixes are just a couple of many different options. Please contact Dylan Nelson with any questions about cover crops, forage crops, feed, net wrap or twine needs at 701-633-5438, 701-412-8569 or email at Dylan@embdengrain.com.