Cover Crop Issues

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

A week of good weather has helped most farmers get crops planted.  However, there are issues dealing with fast-growing cover crops (e.g. cereal rye).  Due to a warm winter and spring, most crops including wheat are 2-3 weeks ahead in maturity.  Fall planted crops are all headed out and getting tall.  How viable is the seed and how do you manage those situations?

On seed viability, cereal rye seed is viable 30 days after heading and flowering.  Some cereal rye has been headed out for 2 weeks, so it is time to get it terminated.  Some rye is 4 to 6 feet tall, so shading is becoming another issue to consider.  Balansa clover seed can remain viable in the soil for 3 years and reseed itself. Balansa and Crimson clover seed is viable 30 days after blooming.  Hairy vetch seed can remain viable for 5 years in the soil (hard seed) and starts to mature around July 10, which may be July 1st this year. … Continue reading