Evaluating the Roller-Crimper for Cover Crop Control in Corn and Soybeans on Terraced Ground

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2013: $4,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Michael Willis
Michael Willis

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Agronomic: corn, rye, soybeans


  • Crop Production: cover crops, no-till, terraces
  • Production Systems: general crop production
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter, soil quality/health

    Proposal summary:

    Research has been done using the Rodale Institute cover crop roller-crimper design, however little research has been done on its effectiveness in hilly or terraced ground. In northwest Missouri, much of the ground has to be terraced in order to prevent ditches. Cover crops can eliminate the need for terraces, but terraces will be necessary to prevent ditch formation during the transitional phase from traditional no-till to no-till with cover crops. Fields usually are irregularly shaped in this region, posing other potential issues. If successful, the cover crop roller would provide growers in northwest Missouri a herbicide-free option of cover crop management that promotes biomass production and organic matter buildup.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    I’d like to address questions or problems regarding the operation of a roller-crimper on hilly, terraced and irregularly shaped ground. How effective is a roller-crimper on terraced ground? When simultaneously rolling and planting, should it be done on the contour or not? What amount of curvature in a field can the roller handle? How should you approach terraces when simultaneously rolling and planting? Some performance targets are timely seeding of the cover crop, rolling and planting at the right maturity stage of the cover crop, evaluation of the roller-crimper's effectiveness at suppressing weeds, and its effect on yield at harvest. These can be evaluated by visually observing the crop throughout the season, using yield monitor data or scale tickets to estimate yield at harvest, and then comparing the rolled and crimped field's yield and weed suppression with that of a comparable field managed under typical no-till practices.

    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.