I'm looking for information on building nitrogen and supressing
weeds with cover crops. I live in zone five close to Dayton,
Ohio. My planned rotation is as follows: Year 1 soybeans /
fall planting of a barley or wheat; year two harvest small
grain / plant a mix of hairy vetch and oats or rye grain;
year three plow under cover and plant corn, repeat year one.
Is this feasible? At what rate and date should the covers
be planted / plowed under? Also, can rye be used before the
beans to suppress weeds? If so, how?
Thanks for any information.
Thanks for the email and the great questions about rotations
and cover crops. Your rotation plan looks good, with the following
provisions. You may have trouble getting your barley or wheat
in after soybeans due to timing issues. You'll probably need
to plant a group two or early group three soybean in order
to get them off in time to plant wheat. I would think barley
is out of the question since it usually get planted in September
and it's tough to get the beans out of the field that early.
Since you are using the vetch or vetch small-grain cover crop
for nitrogen production, I suggest planting it alone or with
the oats. Plant the hairy vetch at around 25 to 30 pounds
of seed per acre. If you plant it with oats, add about 1.5
bushels of oats with it. Rye can be tough to handle in spring,
since you'll want to wait till the vetch really gets going,
and by then the rye can be fairly tall.
Other than that I'd say you're off to a good start with
your plan. If you find the timing doesn't work, you can easily
change this rotation by moving the soybeans to follow the
corn, add spring oats or rye to the rotation following the
beans, then plant wheat and go into hairy vetch.
Good luck, and let us know how things work out.