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What cover crop system will provide lots of N for corn?
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Curious George
Posted 11/23/2021 11:25 (#9336691 - in reply to #9336609)
Subject: RE: What cover crop system will provide lots of N for corn?

paul the original - 11/23/2021 10:22

I should probably have gotten off the Internet and my rear and done some studies years ago to learn more.....

It seems to me most cover crops just gather and hold some of the N that is there, they do not create N. So in many good heavy soils, they really aren’t doing a whole lot?

Takes a clover or alfalfa or other legume to create N. And for them to actually create any real amount of N, they need to grow about long enough to be blooming? They won’t be making N when they are 30 day old seedlings.....

In my deal, I grow a small 10-20 acre patch of small grains. I plant cheap red clover, alfalfa, and turnips along with the spring small grains.

After swathing, combining, and baling the straw off, the cover crops regrow. I figure by the next spring I should be getting 50-75 lbs of N. But that is a seat of the pants wild guess. The trouble is when do those legumes release the N, when do they rot down and let the corn feed from the release? Likely different every year depending on the weather. And, how the covers are terminated.

The last 4 years now I have added a step. My neighbor coulters on 6000 gallons of hog manure in September. The field looks almost black, but the cover crops rebound quickly, and you have not seen turnips that big! Wow. But this is just holding and recycling N, it isn’t creating it.

Still pretty neat, for a rotating 15 acre patch of ground.

Don’t think I helped answer your question any at all.


Why turnips rather than radishes?
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