Planting cover crops, for many farmers, is a beneficial step to ensure nitrogen levels in soil are optimal for the spring planting season. Although we may not think of it as “nitrogen farming,” there is good reason to plant crops this winter for the sole purpose of nitrogen management.
A recent article, “Considerations for Cover Crops in 2012,” published in the University of Wisconsin Crop Manager, suggests that after this summer’s’ drought (2012), “residual nitrate concentrations in the soil will be high, especially if corn was harvested early as silage or if yields are well below expected. One benefit of planting cover crops after corn silage, small grain, or a processing vegetable crop, or after a manure application is that the cover crop can take up residual nitrate and reduce the risk of nitrate leaching between harvest and planting.”
Increasing Nitrogen Credits
If a farmer is looking to increase nitrogen credits, the article suggests using a legume crop. Legume crops include peas, lentils, and vetches. The nitrogen fixing Rhizobia found in Graph-Ex SA™ for Cover Crops will aid in the production of nitrogen by establishing itself inside the root nodules of the host plant. Working symbiotically within the plant’s nodules, inoculation will maximize the desired nitrogen credits.
Learn more about Graph-Ex SA™ for Cover Crops.
If a farmer is interested in scavenging or “trapping” excess soil nitrate and controlling soil erosion the article suggests the use of rye, ryegrass, sorghum, barley, and oats. Due to their fine fibrous root systems and ability to establish quickly, these crops lend themselves well to scavenging. The beneficial fungi, Trichoderma, found in SabrEx® for Wheat and Cereals will colonize with the plants’ root system to exude enzymes and proteins for the plants use. The result: a larger root system and improved nitrogen efficiency.
Learn more about SabrEx® for Wheat and Cereals.
*Referenced Article: Considerations for Cover Crops 2012, University of Wisconsin Crop Manager, Volume 19, Number 21, August 9, 2012