What follows is an e-mail exchange between Jeff and Iowa
farmer Ron Rosmann, one of our No Till Plus collaborators.
we have been having trouble connecting by phone, I thought
I would try e-mail. In looking at the website, maybe I am
getting my big question answered. Is the roller supposed to
only knock over and crimp the cover crop stems, or is it supposed
to actually pull or lift the cover crop somewhat out of the
ground and lay it over?
It is designed to push the cover crop over in one direction,
lay it flat against the ground and crimp the stem every 7
inches along its length. It generally does not cut or pull
the stems from the ground. This makes it easier to get the
planter through the material, since it is still attached to
can understand how tall standing rye could be killed by knocking
it over when it is headed out and quite tall. I don't understand
how it would do the same in hairy vetch, for instance?
You'll need to wait till the vetch is in full bloom. At that
point, the vetch has physiologically matured and is relatively
easy to kill. The roller just flattens it out and crimps the
stem, just like the rye only not as orderly since the vetch
is so viney. We always make sure the roller is filled with
water for this operation.
Wouldn't the roller just knock over and tangle up in the hairy
vetch should not tangle around the roller with this design.
As far as a tangled mess in the field—it is a vine crop
and as such will be tangled up around itself. It still lays
flat, dies, and dries out to look like a cardboard mat.
you do not kill the cover crop—like hairy vetch for
instance—how can you expect to cultivate that much mass
certainly want to kill the vetch or it will become a weed
whenever you have wheat in the rotation. If the roller doesn't
kill the vetch, you can re-roll it if the corn is not up or
the growing tip is still in the ground. Often you can just
drive on it with the tractor tires and kill it. Or, you can
go through it with a high-residue cultivator. The first pass
is easy. If you need to cultivate a second time, that can
be more difficult.
know the pictures of the oats from your power point show it
(hairy vetch) dead and dried up? Am I missing something big
here? When we filled the roller with water and tried it just
a little bit on some hard ground where rye was standing (only
two feet tall), it did nothing to it. We have not gone to
our trial field yet. We also tried it in some mammoth red
clover and it did nothing. PUZZLED!
It certainly won't kill mammoth red clover since that is a
bi-annual. We have seen this year where short rye isn't staying
down like it should. We have rolled barley and wheat in the
past and they were short and rolled nicely. I'll send you
some photos of our vetch and other rolled crops so you can
visually see what we did. Often it doesn't look great the
day you roll it, but a week later you'll see it die down.
I appreciate the communication and the fact that you are part
of this team. I respect your opinion, so it's great to have
you there testing this out.