NDSU Extension Service - Burke County

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Cover Crops 4

Cover Crops 4

County Agent News
Dan Folske
October 27, 2014

Cover Crops Continued

                Sweet Clover: A great choice for building soils and N levels. Also loosens both subsoil and topsoil. Can be interseeded into mature crop to provide fall cover. A biennial which can be a good hay crop the following year. Would need to be terminated by tillage or herbicide prior to planting a spring crop.  Can be a potential bloat problem for grazing and mould when haying can cause a coumarin poison problem. Blossoms are great bee forage for honey production.

                Buckwheat: Very rapid growth, great for short fall window of time. Great weed fighter, often used by organic producers to lower weed pressure in following crops.

                Mustard: Good short season fall cover crop with rapid growth and some frost tolerance. Good N scavenger.

                Oilseed Radish: Cool season annual which can be interseeded into a mature crop. Good fall growth. Excellent subsoil loosener and N scavenger. Good grazing and forage crop. Highly attractive to flea beetles. Could be difficult to establish if near maturing canola fields.

                Canola: Very rapid growth for short windows. Flea beetles could be a problem for establishment.

                Turnips: Rapid growth for short windows. Good N scavenger and topsoil loosener. Excellent for grazing. May not completely winterkill with adequate snow cover. Seed which may not germinate in dry conditions and non winter killed plants may become a harvest problem for low growing crops the next year.

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