Corn Following Green Manure Cover Crops Established with Small Grain

Published Dec 2, 2015

In a Nutshell

Extending and diversifying a crop rotation to include a small grain presents farmers with the opportunity to generate biological soil nitrogen using forage legume (green manure) cover crops seeded in the spring and summer. Farmer-cooperator, Dick Sloan grew corn following red clover that was frost-seeded into a cereal rye seed crop and also after a mix of forage legumes and other species established midsummer after the cereal rye seed crop was harvested.

Key Findings

In his second iteration of investigating these cropping systems, Dick improved his corn yields from the first time he tried this system in 2014. In 2015, corn that followed red clover out-yielded corn that followed the mix. Net returns were approximately $95 greater per acre when corn followed red clover compared to the mix.