This project interseeds catch crops with winter wheat in the fall to scavenge nutrients that might otherwise be lost during the winter months. Catch crops such as tillage radish, oats, or phacelia will winterkill and release the scavenged nutrients in the spring to the growing wheat.
- Objective: Determine the effect of interseeded catch crops on grain yield of winter wheat as a factor of species and intercepted Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR).
- Monitor cumulative PAR in situ through fall months.
- Sample biomass, test for N, P, and K uptake in early winter to estimate impact of catch crop on nutrient cycling.
- Weed counts at boot stage will check for impact of catch crops on weed pressure.
- Objective: Summarize economic cost of catch crop practices.
- Objective: Increase grower knowledge and adoption of catch crops.
Catch crops seeded on 4 farms last winter did not establish well. More participants will be recruited at this year’s Illinois Wheat Growers Conference.
Biomass sampling in December suggests that only 2 of the 4 sites had any growth. Yield and soil sampling will occur in fall.
Educational & Outreach Activities
Outreach and promotion of project planned for Wheat Growers Association Newsletter- also, Chris Evans will host demonstration field days at DSAC.
Field studies took place at these four locations in 2018
Harold Wilken- Iroquois County- Organic for over a decade 1000+ acres
Gary Hunter- Marion County- Conventional 1000+ acres
Troy Throneburg- Christian County- mixed conventional and organic grains 1000+ acres
Chris Evans- Pope County- Forestry and Extension Research Specialist- maintain a conventional replication
catch crop management and in field assessment
Expected outcomes: Determine the impact of fall inter-seeded catch crops(radish) on nutrient cycling, yield, in winter wheat.
Q1: Do low seeded catch crops affect wheat yield or system nitrogen synchrony?
Q2: Is there any significant difference among catch crop species.
Q3: Practically speaking, what observational recommendations can we give to farmers attempting this practice, such as methods and timing.