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Cover crops raise corn yields

Andrew Dupraz is seeing an “easy” 10%-15% boost in corn yields.

By Lon Tonneson

Andrew Dupraz is seeing an “easy” 10%-15% boost in corn yields.

The increase is from cover crops, says the Aurora, S.D., farmer. “Wet or dry years — I’m seeing a benefit,” he says.

Dupraz’s wife, Val, a Natural Resources Conservation Service specialist who has worked in several counties in eastern South Dakota and Iowa, suggested he try cover crops.

Since 2009, they have been planting radishes, turnips, field peas and other species in wheat stubble, and planting corn in the field following year. He’ll turn the cows out to graze the fall growth on the cover crop if the field is fenced and close to home. In fall, the cover crops continue to grow until its about 20 degrees F at night.

The cover crops improve soil health, and their roots drag up nutrients and break up compaction. Planting conditions for corn are excellent following cover crops. The soil is very mellow, Dupraz says.

“I’m real happy with cover crops. We’ll continue planting them every chance we get.”

Key Points

• S.D. farmer sees 10%-15% corn yield boost from cover crops.

• He plants turnips, radishes and other species in wheat stubble.

• He’ll turn cattle out on cover crops to graze in the fall.

This article published in the March, 2014 edition of DAKOTA FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2014.

Crop Management

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