Nathan Trapp knows that cover crop mixes are almost limitless. Last summer, for example, the Flora, Ind., no-tiller top-dressed wheat stubble with urea and seeded crimson clover in mid-July. Once the clover was growing, he knifed in hog manure and drilled annual rye and radish.
Think Different There is no single recipe to determine the right cover crop mix for a particular field, much less an entire farm. You need to know each field, set goals and set a budget that makes sense. Are the primary concerns to retain and build nutrient levels for the coming crop, managing moisture, compaction or simply building soil health? Is grazing a potential income source? Which cover crops match the post-harvest-to-freeze interval in your area? Do you want to deal with pre-plant burn-down or do you prefer letting winterkill do the job? Talk to your agronomist. If he or she doesn't have the information you need, seek out other sources. Start small and simple. Experiment with application methods and timing as well as type and number of cover crops in the mix. Learn and adjust as you go.