Cover Crop Interseeding

Why interseeding?
Many farmers interested in cover cropping struggle with lack of time after corn or soybean harvest to plant cover crops sufficiently early. Plentiful biomass production is frequently the goal of cover cropping, and the earlier cover crops can be planted the more biomass they can produce.

Using an InterSeeder to interseed cover crops between the rows of growing cash crops is a novel method to increase the amount of time cover crops can grow before winter. The InterSeeder offers enhanced cover crop establishment, the ability to interseed into no-till planted cash crops, and decreased labor and fuel requirements.

Interseeding Effects on Establishment, Weed Control, and Yield

This project is part of a larger InterSeeder project replicated at sites in PA and MD. The goals of this work are to evaluate the benefits of cover crop interseeding across a range of soil and environmental conditions, to measure how interseeded cover crops influence cash crops, and compare different cover crop varieties for interseeding. On-farm work is a substantial part of our research (see case studies). Our work began in summer 2013 where treatments of cover crops were interseeded into corn and soybeans in participating farmer’s fields and at our own Musgrave research farm.

In 2014 we measured soil Nitrogen from the previous year’s cover crops, with the goal of producing Nitrogen fertilizer recommendations using the Adapt-N model. The following year we applied two Nitrogen fertilizer rates (Standard and Low) using the Adapt-N model.

Another aspect of the project is testing the performance of 14 different cover crop varieties planted into soybeans. We are interested in which cover crop varieties are the most promising for interseeding. A similar study examines 11 different types of annual ryegrass. Finally, a herbicide study is exploring how interseeded cover crops might react to 17 different pre-emergent herbicides.

Our Methods
Corn was planted using typical methods and we interseeded cover crops into the corn at the V4-V6 growth stage (before the collar of the 12th leaf is visible). We rated cover crop stand establishment, quantified corn yield, measured biomass production of the cover crop, and sampled soil.

Interseeding Results Poster

Cover Crop Interseeding Effects on Establishment, Weed Control, and Crop Yield: Overcoming Winter Cover Crop Establishment Issues for Improving Soil Health




Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 12.24.33 PMInterseeding Cover Crops Into Standing Grain Crops
Presented at January 2015 Corn Congress, Matthew Ryan
Interseeding cover crops in corn and soybeans before harvest can increase the benefits from utilizing cover crops in rotation. This presentation details the novel InterSeeder equipment functionality and presents data on interseeded cover crop yield.


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