If you are among the many farmers feeling somewhat confused when it comes to making decisions about whether to plant a cover crop and how to choose what to plant, Green Cover Seed has a tool that might help.
At last week's No-till on the Plains winter conference, co-owner Keith Berns gave attendees a sneak peek at the company's new Smart Mix calculator which will be online live within the next couple of weeks.
Berns apologized that some of the features of the beta product he demonstrated are not yet working smoothly, but said that he expects all the kinks to be worked out in time for farmers to order seed for spring or summer planting.
Upgrades to online calculator
The new tool is an improvement on the company's existing online calculator, which is based on a Microsoft Excel foundation. The new calculator is in PHP web language and has interactive features that allow users to access a database to review past orders, provide weather information and offer descriptions of new seed being introduced to the cover crop market.
"Based on your zip code, the system will bring up three million points of weather information, including average rainfall, first frost, last frost, plant hardiness zones and much, much more," Berns said.
Users will be able to fill out a form describing what they want to accomplish with a cover crop, when they want to plant, what the following cash crop will be and other information.
The Smart Mix calculator will then bring up a list of recommended seed in legume, grass, brassicas or broadleaves, scoring each for its likely efficacy in a cover crop seed mix.
The calculator also shows 100% planting rate, price per pound of seed and price per acre, including inoculant cost, bulk cost or bagged cost, allowing producers to know immediately exactly what their investment in various mixes will be.
Learn more at the Smart Mix Calculator and what is new in cover crops from Green Cover Seed in the March edition of Kansas Farmer.