In this Practical Farmers of Iowa study, farmer-cooperators created skip zones while seeding cover crops, and then planted corn into these skip zones to see if this method could be part of a proper management plan for corn following a cereal rye cover crop.
Farmer-cooperators created skip zones by using planters to seed cover crops in wide rows, or by plugging seed drill openers while seeding cover crops and ending up with cover crops in twin rows.
Proper management is required for successfully overcoming yield drag in corn following a cereal rye cover crop. This typically involves waiting 10-14 days between cover crop termination and corn planting as well as applying a portion of N fertilizer near the time of planting.
Farmer-cooperators Jon Bakehouse, Mike Jackson, Michael Vittetoe, Loran Steinlage and Jack Boyer investigated different seeding methods to achieve cover crop skip zones for corn that followed a cereal rye cover crop. The cooperators planted corn into these skip zones in order to determine if this could be part of a proper management plan for corn following a cover crop.
• Cover crop seeding methods had no effect on incidence of corn seedling disease across all locations.
• The cover crop reduced corn yields by 7–24 bu/ac at the Bakehouse and Jackson farms compared to where there was no cover crop.
• Delaying cover crop termination to after corn planting reduced yield by 8 bu/ac at Vittetoe’s but had no effect at Steinlage’s (235 bu/ac avg.).
• Boyer observed similar corn yields among tillage regimes and N fertilizer rates (234 bu/ac avg.).
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