Early termination of cover crops
By Rory Lewandowski, Extension educator, Wayne County
Cover crops provide multiple benefits with regards to protecting soil from erosion, improving soil health, and as a component of a nutrient management plan. For those cover crops that over winter and resume growth in the spring, for example, cereal rye and annual ryegrass, an important question is when to terminate that cover crop. That decision should consider the next crop, planting date of that next crop, the spring weather pattern and purpose of the cover crop. For cover crops that have not been planted with the intention of providing a forage harvest, and that are on acres intended for corn grain production, this may be a year to consider early termination of that cover crop.
A driving factor for early termination of cover crops this year is the potential for a drier than average spring and summer. On a recent OSU Extension Ag Crops team conference call, Jim Noel from the National Weather Service talked about weather patterns following an El Nino year. Often the pattern is for the spring and summer months to be drier and warmer than average. At this point, warmer than average weather and plant growth points to an earlier spring. I have talked with several farmers who tell me that our soil moisture is drier than average. If this pattern holds, the risk is a....( To read more, click the link below):