Cocktail Cover Crops Jake Stuckey
Cover Crops: Are crops planted between main crops to prevent erosion or to enrich the soil. A Cocktail cover crop is a mixture of different types of plant seeds.
Seven Benefits of Cover Crops • 1) Reduce soil erosion by wind and water. • 2) Provide a home for beneficial insects. • 3) Improve soil quality; add organic matter to the soil. • 4) Suppress Weeds • 5) Break up soil compaction • 6) Recycle nutrients and scavenge nitrogen and fix nitrogen from the air. • 7) To cut down on Fertilizer costs.
Cover Crop Options • Cool season Broadleaves • Alfalfa*, Clover ( red, sweet, alsike, white), Vetch ( hairy and common)*, winter canola/ rape seed, Radishes ( fodder and oilseed), Turnips, sugar beats, Field peas*, Flax, and Lentils ( red berry and Indianhead)* • Cool season Grasses • Barley, oats, spring wheat/ rye, winter wheat/ rye, spring/ winter triticale, tall wheatgrass, annual Oregon ryegrass • * Are Legumes and can fix atmospheric nitrogen.
Cover Crop Options • Warm season Broadleaves • Cowpeas*, Soybeans*, and Sunflowers Warm season Grasses • Grain and forage sorghum, Sudangrass, Millet, Teff grass * Are Legumes and can fix atmospheric nitrogen.
Cover Crop objective and appropriate crop species. • Grazing: turnips, lentils*, rape seed, radish, rye, oats, triticale, sorghum- sudan • Reducing Compaction: radish, canola*, sugarbeet, sunflower, sorghum- sudan, turnips • Moisture: rape seed, clovers*, winter wheat, rye, triticale • N-Fixation: clovers*, vetches*, lentils*, cowpeas*, soybean*, field peas*
Cover Crop objective and appropriate crop species. • Residue Cycling: Brassicas ( canola*, rape seed, radishes, turnips, and mustards) • Nutrient Cycling: Sunflower, sugar beets, brassicas, small grains
Cocktail Mixes • Fall cover crop mix example: canola, field peas, oats, radish, and flax. • Spring cover crop mix example: cowpeas, sunflowers, sudangrass, millet, and teff grass • All sources say to pick one or two legumes in all cocktail mixes along with one grass, but if grazing your cattle have two grasses.
Planting / Spreading cover crops • Ways to plant cocktail mixtures • Using a drill/ planter • An air seeder • Airplane • Helicopter • Truck spreader
When to Plant Cocktail Cover Crops. • Use of cover crops • As far as when to plant cover crops is difficult. Some people like to plant them every year and some like to do it ever other year or every third year and so on.