Annual Ryegrass and Cover Crops – “Turning the Corner” in the Midwest

According to Dan Towery last week, the fall planting of cover crops has continued to exceed expectations. Even though the weather wasn’t the most ideal…and even with federal incentives for conservation being pulled back, more and more farmers are choosing to change over to no-till with cover crops.

Jamie Scott, an Indiana producer with almost 10 years experience with annual ryegrass, began a few years ago helping neighboring farms get started with the cover crop. On top of having lots of good advice, Jamie has also enlisted aerial applicators, preferring to plant annual ryegrass before harvesting corn and soybeans.

In 2010, Jamie oversaw the application of about 20,000 acres of annual ryegrass seeding in the fall. This year, despite the narrow window and dry conditions, that acreage increased one-third…to a total of 30,000 acres.

Towery mentioned that in conversation with a CISCO Seeds agronomist, they sold FIVE MILLION pounds of cover crop seed this year, up from just a million pounds a year ago. A five-fold increase in one year.

Towery, always encouraging education for newcomers to cover crops, mentioned that Purdue has a new field guide available, outlining various management tips for different cover crops, including annual ryegrass. Click here to find out more about that.


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