Posted 11/10/2012 19:57 (#2689647) Subject: Different Methods for Seeding Winter Rye - Pics
Lots of discussion about planting cover crops lately. I'm in NE Iowa and planted winter rye as a cover crop several different ways and thought some of you might be interested in seeing the difference. I consider myself allergic to tillage and have been mostly no-till for over 10 years. Got into trying cover crops about 3 years for several reasons. Every field we farm is considered HEL and cover crops help hold the soil, especially following beans. I also committed to the cover crops as an enhancement for the CSP program. As part of that program I committed to seeding every acre of soybean stubble to winter rye. Would love to try radishes and other things but in a primarily corn / bean rotation as far north as we are winter rye is about the only thing that works. I'm just a small part-time farmer and corn and bean harvest both happened the last few days of September this year. All of the cover crop rye was seeded between Oct. 1st and Oct. 4th. Like most of the summer we were very dry when the rye was seeded. Got about 0.1" a couple days after planting and then finally got a nice 2" rain about 10 days to 2 weeks after planting. All of the fields were planted at somewhere between 0.9 and 1.25 bushel per acre of VNS winter rye.
Pics #1 and #2 show how most of my rye was planted. No-till drilled using a 45 year old JD single disc conventional grain drill into untouched bean stubble. I pull a homemade single roll cultipacker behind the drill also.
Pic #3 Was also no-till drilled with the same conventional grain drill but this time it was into a cornfield where the stalks were baled. If I get some good growth next spring I'm considering letting this field mature a little longer and bale it to feed my beef cows. After baling I would no-till beans into the stubble.
Pics #4 and #5 show a field that I just broadcast the rye with a fertilizer spreader into untouched cornstalks. This field is next to one of my pastures so I may turn the cows into it next April for some early grazing before going to beans. Would have liked to have drilled it but my old drill can't handle going into untouched cornstalks. I think the key to just broadcasting rye is to do it right after combining before you get the first rain that way the rye has a chance of getting under the residue.
Pics #6 and #7 are of a field that was planted late to corn after timber was cleared. This field was mostly standing white oaks last March. Because the field got planted late and the ground was turned over in the process of grubbing the stumps it was very poor yielding. This field will be going back to corn and was so rough it needed to be smoothed out a little. So I blended rye seed with potash and broadcast it. 4 ton / acre lime was spread and then lightly disked. My disc is not very heavy and only has 18" blades so it only went a few inches deep which was about perfect for incorporating the rye.