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Cereal Grains and cover crops


Staff member
This talks about the short vs long term affects of clover nitrogen.. (via practicalfarmers.org)

View attachment 121240
That’s a really good article. IMO- bottom line: avoid tillage & to maximize benefits…. Do cover crops ongoing so you have continual break down of biomass & N release with little to no soil loss. Which is common sense: we are here for long term game & almost anyone out there is trying to build soil back, especially on erodible ground.
I’d also try for spring termination on clover since above says no difference. Only If you want the benefits of deer feeding on it all fall, winter & just into spring. Huge benefit to deer.

I need to get with FSA & carbon credit folks to see what cost share on cover crops is and deadline for them. Anyone dive into this?


I had some dozer work done in June to push back a few acres of old pasture with locust trees that were creeping out. The first 1.5 acres that I prepped with a tiller and then drilled with cereal rye with a little left over oats looks ok (planted mid-July), but has some bare spots. The second area was prepped the same way and drilled the first weekend in August. That stand is nearly non-existent. The only areas that seemed to get some stand are areas next to the timber that get some shade. It did get some sporadic rains on it, but it seemed like a lot of the rains in August were tracking north. My farm is south of Iowa City about 25 minutes. Not sure if it was something to do with my planting method, or just didn't get enough rain. I planted when I did because I wanted some erosion control. I'm planning on replanting, but wondering if there is anything else I should check out. I thought rye was a little tougher and easier to grow than what I am getting. The 2 acres I did last fall turned out well, but that was creek bottom soil. These areas aren't quite as good. Thoughts?


Active Member
Not sure if it was something to do with my planting method, or just didn't get enough rain.

It's all in timing. Planting cool season grains during the warm season will be tough for them to establish.

You're not too late to replant cereal grains, but I would get on it ASAP. If you have access to a drill, I would drill them as soon as you can. Typically, for cereal grain plantings we shoot for around Sept 1 in southern Iowa down thru most of Missouri. A touch earlier if you are in the northern part of the state.

Your 2 acre plot last fall was planted at the right time period (cool season grains during cool season), hence your reason for success.

FWIW - Millet and Buckwheat both make great summer alternatives for a shorter season. Both are "warm season" crops and do much better during summer months. Any of the Millet varieties are a better alternative than Buckwheat if erosion control is your primary concern.

Good luck!


Staff member
Redoing…. Do rye & oats & winter peas with them. I’d do all 3. & I run 50-60 lbs of each per acre for deer (& do clovers, etc) All 3 are excellent for erosion control & can drill all 3 mid September. Agree on all of above…. I’d also do very soon- especially for deer value.


Active Member
September 18th, 2021

Dbltree mix in main center plot coming in nicely. Can see the peas, radishes here and there. Most browse evident on the oats, can't find too much on the peas yet (surprisingly!).

Fall is finally coming here in central MO! Staying out of most areas for now.



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