Evaluating the Use and Seed Production of Forage Radishes in Field and Forage Crop Fields to Control Compaction, Concentrate Nutrients, Suppress Weeds and provide a local seed source in Limestone Soil of the Northern Shanendoah Valley
Three farmers and the WVU Extension Agent established three different plots of Diakon radishes. These plots varied in size, previous crop and region of the county. Three different drills were used operated by the three producers. Each had a different goal for using the radish in these fall plantings. The plantings were made into the following previous crops: an established pasture that is used as a winter feeding and calving area and also used to separate calves from cows at weaning time; a killed sod that was previously in hay that needed renovation and a corn field taken off as silage. Plots were measured and GPS marked.
The Extension Agent took soil samples in each plot representing three depths: 1-3 inches, 3 – 6 inches and 6 – 9 inches. Penetrometer readings were also taken at each of these depths. Lack of rain in August and September hindered the germination of the seed and narrowed the growing window of the radish. The Extension Agent visited the sites to evaluate the progress of emergence and growth every two weeks. A field day was planned for two of the three locations on December 22nd. A mailing announcing the field day was sent to over 1300 land owners in the tri-county region. The field day was cancel after the largest snowfall ever recorded in December fell. Soil samples and penetrometer readings will be taken this spring and compared to fall samples.
• Seed radishes after wheat harvest
• Seed radishes in late summer
• Winter Feeding area and hay renovation ( 3, 6 and 9 pounds)
• Compaction after Corn (6, 9, and 12 pounds)
Evaluate Stand and Weed Suppression Monthly
Take Soil Samples and Penetrometer readings after planting
Hold twilight meeting
• Seeding after Wheat was not accomplished as the investigator and producers were overly optimistic about the release of funds to purchase seed in a timely fashion to allow the planting to occur. It is hope that this portion of the grant will be accomplished in the summer of 2010.
• Grantham ( Winter Feeding Area) : August 13, 2009
• Hetzel ( renovation of Hay Field) : September 8, 2009
• Tabb (Cover Crop after Corn Silage): September 19, 2009
Seeding Rates (Seeding Rates were changed)
Seeding rates were changed to more closely match the ability of the no-till drills used. Grantham and Hetzel (6, 8, 10 lbs. per acre set on drill). Tabb (4, 8 and 12 set on drill). Interpretation of seed size to match with seed types with the drills was a challenge. In two of the cases, the seed was correlated with the size of sorghum. In the third case the size was correlated with the size of alfalfa. Since four different drills were used, it is difficult to say which setting could consistently be used across all drills.
Stand Evaluation/ Weed problems
oEmergence was erratic due to a lack of rain, competition from existing stand of forage and possibly being seeded too deep.
o Planting would be considered a failure by most standards.
o Leaves on plants that did emerge were consumed by cattle in early December.
o Emergence was less erratic than Grantham, but emergence did not begin until three weeks after planting.
o Planting depth (too deep) may have affected overall stand.
o Large leaves with radishes of an overall length of 6 inches with 3 to 4 inches in the ground were observed in early December.
o Winter annuals (henbit, shepherds purse) were most abundant weeds. Other perennial grasses (Fescue) were also present. Radish seeding rate did not appear to affect weed pressure.
o The trial at the Tabb’s was expanded to include three seeding rates, a sub-soiled replication and a seeding rate that will be disked in the spring. There is concern by the producer that plant population of the corn planted in the spring could be compromised due to the holes from the decaying radishes. Stand counts will be taken and reported across all replications.
o Emergence was more uniform, but lack of rainfall and later planting affected the growth rate of the radish.
o Small plants with little radishes were observed in early December.
o Weed pressure was nonexistent.
Soil Sampling and Penetrometer Readings
Soil samples were taken three times across each replication. Each depth was combined (all 1 – 3 samples, all 3 – 6 inch samples and all 6 – 9 inch samples) identified and mailed to WVU Soil Testing Lab where a Mehlich 1 was performed. Penetrometer readings were taken after the sample was pulled at each of these depths. Since the samples and readings were taken when the ground was in a droughty state the penetrometer readings showed no difference between soil depths and were all very high due to the lack of moisture in the soil.
•Grantham (Winter Feeding area): Results showed that nutrient levels were consistently high throughout the 9 inch profile.
•Hetzel (Renovation of hay field): Results showed much lower levels of nutrients with consistent pH and P levels throughout the 9 inch profile.
•Tabb (Cover Crop after Corn Silage):Results showed a draw down of nutrients in the 3 to 6 inch sample versus levels above and below this level.
Producers’ investment in this project is summarized as follows:
• Lyle C. (Cam) Tabb: Eighteen plots were developed with 3 replications of six treatments. One of those treatments was the Sub-soiled plots totaling .8 acres. Cam Tabb used his tractor and sub-soiler to do these three plots. Cam also used his tractor and no-till drill to plant three different radish seed rates in twelve replicated plots which totaled 3.25 acres. This took 4.5 hours of his time to adjust the equipment, calibrate the drill and plant or till the plots.
• Bill W. Grantham: planted two acres in 9 replicated plots with his own drill. This took 4.5 hours to calibrate the drill, plant and clean out the drill.
• Glen Hetzel: Planted 4.8 acres in 9 replicated plots with a rented drill. This took 5.5 hours to first try his own drill, rent a second drill that worked more satisfactorily, plant and clean out the drill.
A field day was planned for two of the three locations on December 22nd. A mailing announcing the field day was sent to over 1300 land owners in the tri-county region. The field day was cancel after the largest snowfall ever recorded in December fell on December 19th.
- Grantham Fall Soil Sample Results
- Tabb Fall Soil Sample Results
- Grantham Planting
- Diakon Radish at Hetzel
- Grantham Planting
- Hetzel Planting 1
- Hetzel Fall Soil Sample Results
- Hetzel Planting 2
- Tabb Planting
- Tabb Planting
- Tabb Planting
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
While findings from this grant are not yet to the point for distribution, previous experiments with the Diakon radishes by Cam Tabb in 2008 and 2009 showed that in a non replicated trial, corn yields were significantly higher in plots where radishes were grown, the plot disk and then planted versus plots where radishes were planted, spring sub-soiled and then disked. This initial work will be better quantified with the fall planted study in this grant. Mr. Tabb also planted radishes after wheat outside the trial. Redroot pigweed and lambs quarter were the two major breakthrough weeds that could also create harvest problems.
922 Old Leetown Pike
Kearneysville, WV 25430
Office Phone: 3046765703
Meadow Green Farm
2109 South Childs Rd.
Kearneysville, WV 25430
Office Phone: 3042615401
895 Smith Rd.
Charles Town, WV 25414
Office Phone: 3047280011