Utilizing precision application of cover crops to minimize planting challenges while maximizing benefits to corn
Project Summary as of February 1, 2016
In August 2015, I began building a frame from scrap materials on-hand and cut up a used planter that I had purchased to use in the construction of my precision seeder. I also purchased crust buster seed meters for each of the nine planter units that I have mounted to my frame. I have included a picture during construction and also a couple of pictures of the final product. I have set the planter units up in three rows on the frame and spaced them in such a way that a row of seed can be planted every 7.5”. Each unit can be adjusted to match the seeding rate per acre depending on the type of cover crop being planted.
On September 23, 2015, John Pike, University of Illinois; Bronwyn Aly and Nathan Johanning, University of Illinois Extension, helped me lay out and plant research plots on my farm using the precision planter that I have fabricated. I have included the plot plan that John created for this project. I have also included pictures taken on the day the plots were planted as well as a picture of the plots taken in November. All of the cover crop treatments established well in the plots. The planter was roughly put together and worked in setting out the plots in 2015, but I plan to rebuild the planting units before I set out new plots in the fall of 2016.
In January 2016, I met with John Pike, Mike Plumer, Adam Birkner, and Bronwyn Aly to plan a spring cover crop field day on my farm. Adam Birkner is a resource conservationist with the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District and asked to partner with me to hold this field day. I have included the field day flyer that Bronwyn Aly created. We plan to advertise this field day in state agriculture newspapers, at upcoming meetings with other farmers, on the university websites, with the Midwest Cover Crop Council email list, as well as regional media contacts. Other organizations sponsoring this field day include University of Illinois Extension, USDA-NRCS, IDOA, and CBMP.
I am planning to have a study circle meeting on my farm before Labor Day in 2016. Based on suggestions from the study circle, we will again plant research plots on my farm using my precision seeder.
Cover plots two months after planting crop
Planting research plots with precision cover crop planter on September 23, 2015