Archive | Cover Crop Challenges RSS feed for this section
More rain tonight on already flooded fields create a tough situation for many Midwestern farmers.

Prevented Planting Row Crop Acres – Which Cover Crops Can Help?

The following was originally posted on May 27, 2011 when the Eastern Corn Belt was suffering with severe flooding and wet conditions.  In 2013 the Upper Midwest – especially Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin – is flooded and wet.  Many farmers are considering taking the crop insurance for prevented planting.  Even if it would stop raining […]

Read full story · Comments { 8 }
Sudangrass can get quite tall and yield a plenty if managed well.

Summer Annual Grasses for Cover Crops for Prevented Planting Acres

With an abundance of prevented planting acres in Wisconsin and Minnesota in 2013, there is a need for cover crops to help build soil during the soil’s “idle” time.  In this post I’ll mainly focus on summer annual grasses that work well in the Midwest. These recommendations will focus on whether feed is needed or […]

Read full story · Comments { 2 }
Robison Farms Soil temperatures Spring 2013

Myths Debunked on Cover Crops and Colder Soil Temperatures? – Final Report

Sometimes apparent myths prove to be true and sometimes they prove to be…myths!  In March 2013 I asked my brother Don Robison from Robison Farms to help me figure out how cover crops might effect soil temperatures.  We have looked at data in previous posts trying to answer the question “Do Cover Crops that Survive […]

Read full story · Comments { 5 }
Surprise!  That's what our reaction was to the volunteer annual ryegrass growing in our fields nearly 18 months after they were sown.

Cover Crops: Buy One Year, Get Another Year Free

Almost two years to the day I posted an article about Killing Tall Annual Ryegrass. The problem of a wet and chilly 2011 has resurfaced an ugly head to be a wet and COLD spring of 2013. But over the past week or so temperatures have warmed into the 70’s and 80’s with cover crop […]

Read full story · Comments { 2 }
Should farmers be penalized in a wet and cold year for growing a cover crop instead of having a field of winter annual weeds?  Common sense says that a cover crop is better for agriculture than weeds.

Cover Crops and Crop Insurance – Spring Reminders

UPDATE FROM RMA–Haying and Grazing of a Cover Crop – FINAL – 5-8-13 Cover Crops and Crop Insurance on Collision Course again? Cover Crops and Crop Insurance issues seem to be heading to a collision course again this spring in much of the Midwest.  In the Corn Belt wet fields have prevented planting with less […]

Read full story · Comments { 0 }
The soil temperature in the long term no-till soils on 4-12-2013.  Note how waterlogged the soil looks.

Part 3- Do Cover Crops Keep the Soil Colder in the Spring?

Fact or Fiction? Cover Crops that Survive the Winter Keep the Soil Colder in the Spring than Fall-Tilled Soil – Part 3 As of today (April 17, 2013) there is 0% corn planted in Iowa and Indiana with 1% in Illinois and Ohio.  It is now wet and cold…not just cold.  As my brother Don […]

Read full story · Comments { 1 }
Soil temperature in the Annual Ryegrass cover crop plot 4-5-2013

Part 2- Do Cover Crops Keep the Soil Colder in the Spring?

Fact or Fiction? Cover Crops that Survive the Winter Keep the Soil Colder in the Spring than Fall-Tilled Soil – Part 2 On Friday April 5, 2013 my brother Don recorded the temperatures in soils on our home farm near Greenwood, IN (central Indiana).  The previous week Don took soil temperatures coming out of a […]

Read full story · Comments { 2 }
The soil temperature on March 29, 2013 at approximately 4 inches in an annual ryegrass cover crop.

Do Cover Crops Keep the Soil Colder in the Spring?

Fact or Fiction? Cover Crops that Survive the Winter Keep the Soil Colder in the Spring than Fall-Tilled Soil This is a question I get over and over again.  And most of the time it’s not really a question. It’s actually someone stating to me why they are not going to plant cover crops. But […]

Read full story · Comments { 0 }
September 5, 2011 planted Annual Ryegrass compared to Winter Cereal Rye in central Iowa in April 2012.  Note the dramatic difference in winterhardiness.

Cover Crops are Working in Iowa

Cover crops are working in Iowa! While that may not mean much to my eastern corn belt friends it means a lot in Iowa and the upper Midwest. Working with Sarah Carlson from Practical Farmers of Iowa and Tom Kaspar from ARS at Ames, Iowa, we’ve been attempting to identify what cover crops will be […]

Read full story · Comments { 0 }
It only takes a few annual ryegrass plants that produce seed to create a weed problem - especially if wheat is in the rotation.

Can Cover Crops Become Weeds?

In a previous post I wrote that cover crops can suppress weeds.  And many farmers are planting them with that primary benefit in mind. But, can cover crops become weeds? Unfortunately, the answer is “yes, they can.”  Obviously we never want this to happen on our farm.  And with good management practices, we can lessen […]

Read full story · Comments { 0 }