Quebec, Canada. Who’d have thought about planting cover crops there?
Daniel Briere, an agronomist with Plant Production Quebec, works with local farmers on a novel way to plant annual ryegrass – late in the spring, about six weeks after corn has emerged and reached knee height. Using modified high clearance equipment, the annual ryegrass sprouts in spring weather and then goes dormant in summertime, when the grass is shaded by corn.
After corn is harvested, the annual ryegrass is already very well established, able to grow until freezing weather, when cold and snow send the crop into dormancy again. Saddlebutte Ag, an Oregon seed grower, has provided the hearty annual ryegrass seed for the past four or five years, as the project has grown. Dan Towery, Midwest adviser on cover crops and President of the Soil & Water Conservation Society, has followed the project the past few years and said: “It could be a game changer for cover crop planting. I’m impressed. But I have to say, if you’re new to planting cover crops, wait on trying this…or try it on a small plot. It’s unclear how spring seeding of annual ryegrass will play out in the Midwest.