Green Manure Cover Crops Established with Small Grains

Published Dec 5, 2014

Extending and diversifying a crop rotation to include a small grain presents farmers with the opportunity to also include green manure cover crops. Three farmer-cooperators grew a small grain + red clover and a small grain + cover crop mix preceding corn in their crop rotations.

Key Findings

  • Red clover frost-seeded with the small grain put on more aboveground biomass and contained more N than the cover crop mix seeded after small grain harvest on one farm.
  • Corn yields following red clover were greater than those following the cover crop mix at only one farm.
  • If sufficiently terminated, red clover and the cover crop mix preceding corn in rotation can result in yields comparable to county yield averages.