Jim Winn has been planting cover crops for 18 years and his are growing nicely at Cottonwood Dairy. Jim answered a few questions below.
What is the cover crop seed mix?
We seeded 90 lbs. of winter wheat last fall in fields that will be alfalfa. We also planted 90 lbs. of rye where it will be corn on corn this year.
What crop to be planted within cover crops?
I hope to no-till alfalfa and corn this spring.
What equipment do you use to plant cover crops?
Airflow to seed the cover crop and then went over it with a vertical till machine.
How long have you been planting cover crops?
What benefit(s) do you receive from planting cover crops?
Soil health, reduce soil erosion, and in turn keeping the water from running off the land to navigable waters.
What is the most important thing you learned since planting your first cover crop?
Keeping the nutrient load in the field for plant uptake. Soil amendment helping reduce the effects of soil compaction.
What advice would you have for farmers who aren’t planting cover crops?
First of all, give it a try. Secondly, it gives you the flexibility to harvest a crop in the case of an emergency due to a feed shortage. There is also eye appeal because green looks better than brown in the winter and spring.