This week I traveled to Weninger Farms for a Pre-Planting Clinic hosted by the Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil & Healthy Water. The event was filled with lots of great discussions and presentations. Here’s Cover Crop Specialist Brendon Blank answering the age old question of which one is better: winter wheat or cereal rye?

“Cereal Rye roots more aggressively. A deeper root, more vigorous, it’s just a fool-proof plant. You can plant it later, it’s just the most forgiving thing out there. There is also some — most cereal rye you are working with is VNS rye, it hasn't really changed from a genetic standpoint nearly to the level that a lot of our wheat has. There is some talk out there that some of the winter wheat through the cultivation over the years where it’s being grown and cultivated in high tillage environments and high fertility environments where it has lost some of that vigor and mycorrhizal fungi that go along that cereal rye does really well with. So they kind of bred it to be more built toward a system where it’s got all the fertilizer in it whereas the rye that hasn’t happened. Rye is grown in more rugged conditions and it is not pampered as much. For a cover crop we want something that is just gonna work really really hard and the rye has proven itself to do that and winter wheat is just a little bit more of a princess. It’s not as rugged and it’s designed to be a commodity crop and designed for above ground material whereas the rye is just kind of old like an old 40-20 John Deere. It just kind of works. It’s old and reliable and we haven’t messed it up.”

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for lots more content from the pre planting clinic including some advanced cover crop technology and a preview into this year’s National Strip-Tillage Conference.