Demonstrating the Potential for Triticale and Annual Ryegrass as both an Alternative Winter Crop and a Soil Organic Matter-Building Practice
As was outlined in our proposal, this grant is for a two year study with each year beginning in September and ending in May. A 2011 operational summary would consist of preparing land for planting, separating and planting each plot. This was completed in October 2011. Fertilizer was added per soil sample results.
Winter cover crops (specifically triticale, annual ryegrass, and crimson clover) that are harvested as a forage crop can accomplish several goals of sustainable agriculture such as:
1)It can build up soil organic matter (SOM) and protect from soil erosion during winter months.
2) It can provide an alternative crop of high quality forage that can be sold to local dairy and beef producers.
3) It can increase the sustainability of existing farming practices by improving cash flow on the farm, decrease the risk to the local environment, and enhance the sense of community on the local level.
45 acres was divided into seven plots with control stips between them.
Fertilizer was added per soil sample results. All plots were planted late October. We experienced an extreme drought for the next two months and on into the spring of 2012.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Although the yields were reduced due to drought, the quality remained high and all specialists were impressed with the dry weather yields. We feel that the yields obtained in dry weather ensures that in normal weather conditions exceptional yields may be obtained.