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Companion Cropping: The Next Big Thing
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Posted 11/28/2013 07:12 (#3475815 - in reply to #3475414)
Subject: Re: Companion Cropping: The Next Big Thing

South Carolina
You have made a very interesting post but your plan differs from conventional thinking as I understand it. My thought is that there is only so much moisture and nutrients available to be used by a growing crop and a cover or conservation crop that competes with the money crop is going to steal yields and profits. Around here the idea is to have the benefits of a cover crop in between the money crops and terminate the cover around planting time so all soil resources feed the money crop. For example, after cotton harvest in October plant a 4 or 5 way blend and get the nitrogen and soil structure benefits all winter and then terminate and leave that mat to plant into in May. Potentially, the mat will suppress weeds and shade the ground to save moisture and lower evaporation. The unanswered question is "will the benefits be greater than the cost of the blend?" Many farmers around here are trying to figure this out. A good many are convinced it works for corn, wheat, soybeans in rotation but cotton is less certain. Trying new things keeps it more interesting and I will look for your updates. I am trying a 5 way blend and also whole fields of crimson clover, vetch, and austrian winter peas. I plan to post pictures in the spring.
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