My Cover Crop is Growing
By the time my peas were harvested by Birds-Eye-Foods it was much too late in the season to plant a second crop of beans. So I began to consider what type cover crop to plant. It is important to have a crop that will provide some residue to protect the soil over the winter and next spring. A cover crop also protects the soil the rest of this growing season providing shade. The sun shining on black soil can result in very high soil temperatures. High soil temperatures hampers or can kill soil microbes.
I had never planted a cover crop before. When you do not have any experience with something you talk to someone who does. Given the low corn and bean prices the cost of planting a cover crop was a major consideration too. Talking with Paul at Werner Farm Seed at Dundas we decided to plant certified oats as a cover crop. The seed was quite inexpensive, and being certified I did not need to be concerned about the oats being contaminated with weed seed.
I did not even own a drill to plant oats. I called my agronomist and asked about the coop air flowing the oats spreading them on top of the ground, Would it work to disk the field to get the oats in the soil? My agronomist said he had never tried that but he thought a coworker at another location had. My agronomist called back and said they could air flow the oats on the field and then if I disked the field they should grow. As you can see the agronomists were right. The rain right after seeding sure helped to germinate the seed too.