Funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program.

LEARN

UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF COVER CROP PLANTING DATE IN ILLINOIS ROW CROP PRODUCTION

Nathan Johanning, M.S.
Extention Educator, Commercial Agriculture
University of Illinois
618-939-3434
njohann@illinois.edu

QUESTIONS THIS PROJECT WILL ADDRESS

  • What is the ideal planting date to maximize survivability of cover crops and biomass production?
  • How does cover crop planting date affect seeding rate?
  • Which cover crops work best in a soybean/corn rotation?
  • How does cover crop termination timing affect the following crop’s stand, growth and yield?
  • Cover crops are an important tool in preserving and increasing soil productivity, stewarding water resources, suppressing weeds and retaining nutrients. However, planting cover crops coincides with the busy harvest season. Also, research to influence best practices for successful cover crops has been limited across the vast Illinois growing environments.
  • This project will implement two different trials to inform how cover crops can best fit within a soybean/corn rotation:
    • Cereal rye after corn harvest before no-till soybean
    • Different clover species after soybean harvest before no-till corn
  • The trials will assess optimal planting windows, seeding rates, and termination timing to maximize overwintering; biomass production; and rotational crop stand, growth and yield.
  • Results of this trial are designed to give farmers more cover crop options in their management toolbox. They will be equipped with better guidance on planting dates and optimum cover crop species for their soybean-corn rotations.

ADDITIONAL RESEACHERS:

  • Dane Hunter, Field/Lab Technician
  • Greg Steckel, Field/Lab Technician
  • Luke Merritt, Research Specialist, University of Illinois
  • Dr. Talon Becker, Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture, University of Illinois
  • Northern Illinois sites (Highland Community College, Joliet Junior College, and/or Illinois Valley Community College)
  • Northwest Illinois Agriculture Research & Demonstration Center, Monmouth
  • Orr Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center, Baylis
  • Belleville Research Center, Belleville
  • Ewing Demonstration Center, Ewing