When I was out to the farm last weekend I took these pictures of my cover crop of oats and radishes. This field was peas that were planted in early June. It was extremely wet for the next 5 weeks with frequent rains. Peas cannot tolerate saturated soil conditions for long periods of time. Root rots set in and almost all the peas died. Birds Eye Foods did not even bring the pea combines into the field, there was nothing to harvest.

I guess I cannot grow peas but at least I can grow a cover crop! After the insurance company released the field I disked it a couple times to kill all the weeds. I do not have a drill so I had the Coop airflow on 2 bushels of oats an acre and about a pound of radishes. Then I disked it again lightly to try and get the oats and radishes into the soil.

Before I planted the cover crops my Pork Producing neighbor applied hog manure on the field. There are three farrowing barns a half a mile from this field. Because the barns are so close the custom manure applicator ran a long hose from the pit to my field. The manure was pumped right to the applicator in the field. The manure did not have to be pumped into a semi or manure tanker to be hauled to the field.

It is nice to see something growing in the field to protect the soil from erosion. In addition the radishes will grow deep enough to break up any hardpan that might be there. In addition the oats and radishes will use the nitrogen available from the manure and tie it up in the plant material. Then when the residue decomposes next spring the nitrogen will be released and available for next years corn crop!