Harvest has not quite started yet in most parts of the U.S., but it will be here soon. That means that many growers are also gearing up for seeding cover crops after harvest is completed. Dan Towery, an Indiana crop consultant, shares these 7 tips for cover crop seeding in the fall:

  • Aerial seeding or high clearance application in corn are an option—if there is adequate soil moisture. However, dry conditions and little rain will result in a poorer stand of covers. Fit the timing of seeding with the cover crop species. Don’t wait to seed covers waiting for normal weather conditions.
  • Add a seeder on the combine so you can seed covers while harvesting. If the dates fit within recommended seeding times, this is a good method for seeding cover crop species like annual ryegrass, clovers and radish.
  • Follow the combine with a drill on the same day as harvesting to plant covers and give cover crops as much time as possible to grow.
  • Use a higher seeding rate (60-80 pounds per acre minimum) for seeding cereal rye if soybeans are going to be the next crop. Bump the rate to 80-120 pounds per acre if you’re wanting to achieve additional weed control. Use a lower seeding rate (35-50 pounds per acre) if corn is the next crop.
  • Use triticale or barley instead of cereal rye if planting corn the next spring. This will result in a lower amount of biomass and carbon-to-nitrogen ratio.
  • Set up the drill to block seeding of covers every 30 inches. Use GPS guidance on the planter to plant corn into the skip row. You can also add nitrogen before planting corn in this zone.
  • Treat winter annuals before planting covers or spray after covers are established. Otherwise, you might have issues with untreated winter annuals next spring.

Have you started harvest yet? What cover crop species are you planning to plant? Share your updates with us!