Fall Cover Crop Options

Aug 30, 2021

With fall right around the corner and silage starting to be chopped, it is time to start planning for cover crop seedings, especially on these early chopped fields.  We have a lot of options to think about in a cover crop seeding, from seed to plant to how to plant the seed.  We can get a few common options of seed, frequently used for cover crops:
  1. Winter Rye
  2. Winter Wheat
  3. Triticale
  4. Oats
  5. Turnips, Radishes, and Brassicas
  6. Mixtures of any of the above
When it comes to picking your cover crop seed it comes down to the question of “what is your intent for the cover crop?”  If you are wanting a few quick roots, winter cover, and nothing to worry about getting rid of in the spring, oats may be your option.  If you are wanting something that will establish roots in the fall, produce a little ground cover, and give you the option of producing tons of livestock feed next spring/summer; annual rye or triticale may be your answer.  If you want a plant to produce large openings in the soil to loosen the soil and improve water percolation, turnips or radishes may be your option.  Many producers opt to plant a mixture of species to help hold the soil in place and improve soil health.

Method of seeding must also be considered when planning to seed cover crops.  We can spread cover crops with an airplane with this year’s crops still growing in the field, get you the seed to drill after this year’s crop is harvested, or mix seed with fertilizer and spread after harvest.

If you are considering cover crops talk to your local SFG Agronomist about options that will work on your farm for this falls cover crop seeding needs.