Covercropping Strategies for the Intercropping of Clovers with Corn and Cereal Crops

Final Report for FNE95-095

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 1995: $4,348.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1995
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $3,050.00
Region: Northeast
State: Vermont
Project Leader:
Jack Lazor
Butterworks Farm
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Project Information

Summary:

Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE95-095.

Jack Lazor grows soya and corn, some of which he sells, and some of which he feeds to his dairy cows. His operation is strictly organic.

His SARE project involved seeding a legume cover crop into standing corn simultaneously with the final cultivation of the year, in July. He modified a Herd electric seeder to fit on the cultivator toolbar on the back of his tractor. The seeder then broadcast mammoth red clover seed onto the soil freshly turned by the cultivator as it moved along. The seed took well, and Mr. Lazor reports that by harvest time in late October the clover had formed a solid mat, two to four inches thick. While his idea seemed to work well, and some of his neighbors have adopted it for their own use, Mr. Lazor was less than completely satisfied with the results; he was hoping for substantially more biomass accumulation than he got. He attributes the shortfall to 1) shading by the corn crop, 2) the fact that clover grows very little during the cool autumns in his area, and 3) flooding the following spring by the nearby Mississquoi River, which buried the clover under a layer of silt. Mr. Lazor continues to seed a cover crop into his standing corn, but he’s found that he prefers to use rye, because it grows faster than clover, produces more biomass, is more winter-hardy and more tolerant of flooding, the seed is cheaper, and, being allelopathic, rye is very helpful in suppressing weeds.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Sid Bosworth

Research

Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.