Andy Clark wrote:
> A Pennsylvania farmer has asked me about the use of spring-seeded WINTER
> wheat as a cover crop for corn (and for soybeans as a secondary interest).
> He'd like to speak with a farmer or educator who has tried this or seen how
> it works. Any suggestions?
I've thought of doing this but havn't yet. Does he want to notill it? I think
there would be more weeds coming up with the wheat then would be acceptable
based on experiance with winter killed spring oats planted in the fall.
> He is organic, so also needs information on killing/suppressing the wheat
> without herbicides.
> The idea is that spring-planted winter wheat will not vernalize, therefore
> will not head. Stuck in the vegetative stage, it will (allegedly) die out
> either on its own, or with some *help*.
mowing b4 or soon after planting might help. what about allelopathy?
> When will it senesce in eastern PA,
> and will it compete for moisture (primary concern) before that time?
this would be the greatest concern. not having moisture at the begining is
difficult to make up.
One idea that has worked well for me in getting the jump on early planting in
the spring for spring covers, is to notill plant when the ground is slightly
frozen on top. that eliminates compaction and a muddy mess.
He might want to concider next fall planting rye as a cover, then rolling it
down in the spring with a rolling stalk chopper like I have (or something
similar). This stategy is being done successfully by a few organic growers for
later planted crops. I grew a food grade plot of notilled soybeans for Rodale
using this method. had very few weeds.
-- Steve Groff
"Enhancing the Environment" http://www.cedarmeadowfarm.com/ Cedar Meadow Farm 679 Hilldale Road Holtwood, PA 17532 USA
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