Cover Crops with Reconfigured Ridge-till

Published Feb 8, 2004

Richard and Sharon Thompson, Boone, repeated a trial they have done before, seeding twin rows of rye cover crop on the ridge before corn. Dick has demonstrated in the past that this rye can be conveniently removed by the ridge-till planter without leading to weed problems or yield loss. But the planter keeps changing. Now Thompson has removed the sweep from the Buffalo® planter. He has observed that mud sometimes builds up beneath the sweep, raising the planter and causing weeds next to the row to escape removal. With the sweep gone, weeds and seeds are removed by plates that are attached to the residue guards and extend to the planter runner shoe.

How did the new configuration handle crop residue and the rye cover crop? Quite well, reports Dick. He planted into rye in both cornstalks and soybean residue without problems. The problem came later, with the cultivator, which plugged and reduced the corn stand in the trial. The resulting gaps allowed weeds to grow. However, the rye cover crop did not have a statistically significant effect on corn yields