Options for cover crops after a June harvest of 2019 corn with anticipated crop in 2021 being soybeans. If you have livestock, then the options are limitless and focusing on including a cool season grass (oats or barley), warm season grass (sorghum), cool season legume (peas) and cool season broadleaf (radish) could work really well. Since we anticipate the grazing date to stay Nov. 1 and not get moved up like it did last year, trying to include species that will last into the fall and stay green are a good idea. This may include kale, Winfred hybrid or pasja turnip. The other species planted early, like sorghum, will be fairly low quality if grown full season and then grazed after Nov. 1, so it will be important to have some higher quality cover crops in the mix.

If grazing is not an option, then keeping the mix simple is key. Using a mix of grasses (oats, barley, cereal rye and maybe some sorghum or millet) could be a good approach.

Seed is not in short supply this year, like it was last year. That means a couple things: You can get the mix you want and the concerns with weed seed contamination especially in millet is reduced (because we won’t be rushing the process to make seed available). This also gives more flexibility to order seed a little later once we all know a little more about how things are going to play out.

When picking a mix, it is important to also avoid cover crops that are hosts for diseases in your cash crop. This is especially important for things like clubroot and also soybean cyst nematode. If you have canola in rotation, avoid brassicas (turnips, radish, rapeseed) because they are clubroot hosts. If you have soybean cyst nematode issues, avoid chickling and hairy vetch, forage peas, turnips and white lupine since they are all hosts.