Cover Crops, Annual Ryegrass, Popular No-Till Conference Topics

At the recent National No-Till Conference (NNTC) in St. Louis, MO, cover crops seemed to be on nearly everyone’s minds. Record numbers of attendees (900+….350 of which were 1st timers) saw dozens of presentations and informal “round table” discussions where cover cropping was featured.

Ray McCormick, the No-Till Innovator award-winner from last year, talked about his novel cover crop seeding technique….attaching a Gandy Orbit Air seeder to his combine! The Vincennes, IN, farmer uses annual ryegrass.

“Most popular speaker award” winner from last year, Jamie Scott, was again at the NNTC and talked about seeding annual ryegrass on more than 30,000 acres near his farm in Pierceton, IN. He and his father act as brokers for the seeding service, contracting with air operators to apply the seed before harvest.

Terry Taylor, Geff, IL, won the No-Till Innovator award this year, and he talked about the value of cover crop mixes, including annual ryegrass, crimson clover and oilseed radish. Jamie Scott says he thinks the annual ryegrass and clover mix is mutually beneficial, as the clover has tons of nitrogen and annual ryegrass is a scavenger of N.

Ohio crop consultant Joe Nestor spoke about the value of cover crops in getting into the field early in the spring. Where acres were covered in cover crops, snow melt occurred two days ahead of nearby frozen ground. The cover crops contribute to more worm activity and soil biology…and that’s why snow melts off it sooner.

 

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