There have been some farmers interested in cover crops for a long time. However, the interest in cover crops increased dramatically after the Prevented Plant year of 2013. I guess you could say when farmers had to plant a cover crop on their prevented plant acres they noticed some soil benefits of cover crops. So, in response there was a lot of experimenting to see how cover crops could be worked into our corn soybean rotation with our short growing season.

There is a group of farmers that have been working with the Rice County Soil and Water Conservation District trying to develop cover crop procedures. In the picture is a field of soybeans growing through a terminated cover crop. Last year this was a corn field. Winter rye was seeded late in the summer with an airplane. In two days the plane seeded about 3,000 acres of cover crops. With a rain the winter rye germinated and began to grow. The winter rye was established but did not grow much because it was shaded by the corn.

When the corn matured it began to open up the canopy and let sunlight through to the winter rye. The winter rye went into dormancy for the winter and then began growing again this spring. Jim told me when Larry no-tilled the beans into the winter rye it was as tall as the wheels on the planter. The next day the field was sprayed to terminate the winter rye. You can see the green beans growing up through the winter rye.

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