Utilizing Late Season Cover Crops in a No-Till System
1. Planted nine combinations of cover crops and replicated them three times on 53 acres. Planting date 8/7/07.
2. With the help of Dr. Shannon Osborn of the ARS [Agricultural Research Service] we soil sampled each strip twice using GPS [Global Positioning System]. We took a 0-6” 6-12” and 12-24” core for nitrate. This was on 9/3/07. We also took stand counts.
3. I took pictures every two weeks
4. We sampled again when the cover crop was terminated by frost on 10/26/07.
5. We sampled 0”- 48” to see if the nitrate leached. We did this 4/21/08.
6. We planted corn on 5/13/08 leaving two 100 ft strips on every replication with no additional nitrogen.
• You can see that it is improving soil health. It is breaking down the old crop residue.
• It stops run off.
• It has created a lot of interest.
WORK PLAN FOR 2008
• Take leaf samples on the strips with no nitrate and the strips with nitrate at the six leaf stage of the corn.
•Hand harvest a portion of each strip to check yield at harvest.
• Combine using a yield monitor and weigh each strip.
1. We had a field day on 10/15/07. It was put on with the help of SDSU [South Dakota State University] Extension and the local NRCS [Natural Resources Conservation Service] office. There were 42 people present. Gave a power point presentation about cover crops and explained the SARE Grant and what we were trying to accomplish in our no-till farming.
2. Ag Horizon, Pierre, SD (sponsored by the SD Wheat Commission) 11/22/07, 82 people
3. Working with Cover Crop Huron, SD (sponsored by the NRCS) 2/13/08, 210 people
4. No-till On the Plains Conference, Salina, Kansas (sponsored by No-till on the Plains). Largest no-till conference in the nation. 1/26/08, 1200 people
5. Ranchers and Farm Workshop, Gettysburg, SD (sponsored by SDSU Extension and the NRCS. 2/15/08, 75 people
6. Gettysburg Rotary. 3/10/08, 15 people
7. UMAC [Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium ] Conference, Grand Forks, ND (sponsored by NDSU and SDSU). 3/19/08, 52 people.
I plan on letting more people know the importance of cover crops and how they help protect the soil and help build organic matter. We have to find ways to help supplement our present fertilizer programs for the future generations.