PFI CONFERENCE RECAP: Rolling Cover Crops with Modified Equipment
At the Practical Farmers of Iowa annual conference last month, we held a session on terminating cover crops with rolling equipment. This session featured three farmers (Doug Alert, Dave Schmidt & Francis Thicke) sharing their experiences with rolling a cover crop from the 2015 growing season. Rolling a cover crop is not a common technique for terminating cover crops in Iowa. Elsewhere, however, this technique is used in organic systems looking to minimize tillage and soil disturbance and in no-till field crops systems looking to reduce chemical inputs.
Below, you can find the photos/slides shared by these three farmers as well as other materials previously shared on this subject.
- Doug Alert. Doug farms with his wife, Margaret Smith, and sons, Robert and William, near Hampton in north-central Iowa raising organic corn, soybeans & small grains, cattle, sheep and pigs. In 2015, Doug rolled a hairy vetch cover crop (seeded after cereal rye grain harvest in July 2014) in early June before planting corn. He and Margaret wanted to compare this method to what they normally do: till red clover (frost-seeded with a small grain in the previous spring) ahead of planting corn.
- Doug’s photos/slides from the session can be found here.
- Doug and Margaret held a field day in July 2015 about one month after rolling the vetch and planting corn. They also provided at that field day a cost break down comparing their technique with red clover with their rolling hairy vetch.
- Dave Schmidt. Dave runs Troublesome Creek Cattle Co. with his wife Meg near Exira in west-central Iowa. In 2015, he rolled a cereal rye cover crop in June before seeding a diverse mix of summer cover crops for their cattle to eventually graze later in the year.
- Dave’s photos/slides from the session can be found here.
- Dave also shared his experience in a couple of guest blog pieces for PFI.
- Francis Thicke. Francis and Susan Thicke run Radiance Dairy near Fairfield in southeast Iowa. In 2015, Francis rolled a cereal rye cover crop after drilling soybeans. The drill partially knocked down the rye (which was flowering) and the culti-mulcher Francis used to roll finished the job and laid all the rye flat.
*** NOTE: Presentations from other sessions at the 2016 annual conference are now up on our website! Check them out here: https://www.practicalfarmers.org/farmer-knowledge/annual-conference-multimedia/ ***