I have followed your articles about rolling a cover crop
and then planting directly into the rolled crop with much
interest. I can see the benefits of this method, but I do
have some questions. First, in your opinion, what are the
major drawbacks to this system? Second, do you find that the
soil in the fields utilizing this method are getting excessively
compacted? If so, what will you use to combat this?
Thanks for following along on our no-till adventure. I'll
try to briefly answer your questions only because as I write
this I should be out in the field no-tilling some soybeans.
There are several drawbacks or challenges to the system. First
is matching the cover crop to the cash crop so that timing
issues are avoided. For example, we no-till corn into legumes
to take advantage of the free nitrogen. Typically we use hairy
vetch as our legume of choice since it does well in our climate.
However, many of the vetch varieties seem to flower later
than I'd like often (like this year) delaying corn planting
till early June.
As far as compaction goes, you need to understand that we
only no-till for two years in a row, then we use a plow. So,
in that sense we are not a true continuous no-till system.
We mix no-till into a plow-till system to take advantage of
I hope that helps,