I have the opportunity to buy 50 acres near where I live.
It has not been farmed the past year but was allowed to grow
in weeds. I would like to take the John Deere no-till drill
I have and drill into the weeds with some oats (1 bushel per
acre, 15 pounds of hairy vetch and rye mixture). I already
have the oats and vetch but need to know how much rye to plant
in order to out-compete the weeds. I know you mentioned to
me earlier on about using straight vetch, but at almost $4
a pound it is too expensive to put on 28 pounds. I want to
plant corn in that field next spring, using the roller I ordered
& J Mfg.
Vaughn A. Jackson
Here’s the deal: To give your corn a fighting chance
in spring you’ll need to be sure to have a good solid
stand of weed-free cover crop in order for the roller/crimper
to work and for the cover crop to prevent new weeds from germinating.
If you have a heavy stand of established weeds now, the chances
of success by simply no-till drilling the cover crop into
an established weed zone are drastically reduced. If you are
convinced the rye/oats/vetch has a fighting chance, the rate
I’d use for the rye would be around 1.5 bushels per
The 15 pounds of vetch may or may not supply enough nitrogen
to your corn. Much depends on the residual nitrogen still
in the soil. You’ll need at least 200 pounds of nitrogen
contribution from the vetch, since only about 50 percent will
be available to the corn that first year. Vetch should have
no problem producing that much if the stand is good.
Ask yourself – and this may depend on whether the weeds
there now are annuals or perennials – whether a cover
crop can really get established enough to compete this fall
for water and nutrients.