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Seed Cover Crops Off Header and Save a Trip Across the Field

Seed Cover Crops Off Header and Save a Trip Across the Field
Cover crop seeding may depend upon time of harvest.

Jeremy Henry works full-time off the farm. So does his wife, Tara. The couple farms near Connersville. When Jeremy converted to no-till, he soon wanted to try cover crops. After one experience with aerial seeding where neighbors thought they were spraying pesticides, he decided he was too close to town for aerial applications.

Harvest and seed: Jeremy Henry spreads cover crop seed while harvesting corn with a seeder he designed and built for his corn head.

But Henry didn't want to make another trip across the field in the fall. His time is limited. So he tracked down old John Deere dry fertilizer boxes and fans from Herd seeders, and rigged up a seeding unit on his corn head before the 2013 season. He had an excellent cover crop to plant into after burndown this spring. He will have an excellent crop on most fields again in 2015.

Related: Farmer Tries Seeding Cover Crops with Nitrogen Applicator

"We harvested some corn early and the cover is off to a great start," Henry says. "It should give me good growth next spring before we burn it down."

As long as he follows protocol, he hasn't had problems burning down annual ryegrass. He also seeds cereal rye, especially ahead of soybeans or if it gets late in the fall and he still wants to seed a cover crop.

Even planted now, if the weather cooperates, cereal rye often produces a cover crop next spring. You may need to adjust seeding rates if planting now. You also may need a rain to get it started if you're not drilling it after harvest.

Thinking about a cover crop? Start with developing a plan. Download the FREE Cover Crops: Best Management Practices report today, and get the information you need to tailor a cover crop program to your needs.

The protocol for killing annual ryegrass in cool weather includes spraying in the middle of the day. Applications made late in the evening when weather is cool with burndown herbicides used in his program aren't as effective, he notes.

The seeder on the corn head is powered by hydraulics. He uses the outlets on the combine that power the reel on the grain table while combining soybeans.

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