I was in western Pulaski County of Indiana again yesterday afternoon (11/16/2010) at the Leman farm. This is the third year that the Leman’s have used cover crops. Curt Leman dug some pits for us so we could see what kind of rooting depth we have achieved since the annual ryegrass was planted on Sept 4, 2010. When I got in the pit I was very pleasantly surprised! I found ryegrass roots that are already 40″ deep! Watch the video to see what other goodies I found!
After digging out the section of soil that had the dark band we found that we actually had corn roots from the 2010 crop that were at least 36″ deep. My friend from Michigan who is a “corn guru” tells me that in most soils in most years that corn roots go 18″ deep…so we gained approximately 18″ greater depth of corn roots by using annual ryegrass for one year…impressive isn’t it!?! And, we didn’t dig deeper than 40″ so possibly the roots went deeper than that. I believe that helps explain our improved corn health and yield where we had ARg as a cover crop vs where we had no cover crop (again, see previous post).
In the photo you see the dark band of soil found at the 30-36″ soil depth. The following video reveals what I could not see when in the pit…
I anticipate we will dig in the spring at the Leman farm again. What we found after 10 weeks was literally amazing!