Summer Annual Forage Established After Cereal Rye + Hairy Vetch Cover Crop

Published Oct 25, 2016

In a Nutshell

Cover crops and summer annual forage mixes can provide a host of benefits to annual cropping systems: add biodiversity, reduce soil erosion, reduce nutrient loss, increase soil organic matter and reduce weed pressure. Dave and Meg Schmidt evaluated the effect of applying chicken litter to a cereal rye + hairy vetch cover crop and grazing the cover crop ahead of establishing a summer annual forage mix.

Key findings

Grazing the cereal rye + hairy vetch cover crop resulted in more biomass production than where not grazed. The application of chicken litter did not affect cover crop growth or summer annual forage biomass production. Hairy vetch in the cover crop successfully established (seeded in late August 2015) and may have contributed a substantial amount of N to the succeeding summer annual forage crop.