Cover crops’ goal is to assist in the preservation and health of soil.

Description

Cover crops’ goal is to assist in the preservation and health of soil. Having a growing crop in a field throughout the year, particularly the roots in the ground, help with erosion, nitrogen fixation, increasing organic matter, removing plow pans, reestablishing water holding capacity, and fertility.

A successful and appropriate cover crop program will result in improved fertility, lower fertilization cost, weed suppression, better soil structure, increased water-holding capacity, deeper cash crop roots, and soil that has better organic matter and is alive.

Management

Depends on what species of cover crop you choose to use on your farm. Consult with your PEAK Forage consultant to learn best management practices.

Establishment

Cover Crops can be drilled or broadcast into a firm seed bed at a rate dependent on the species selected. Contact PEAK Forage to learn more about establishment of cover crops on your farm.

Medium Red Clover

Description:

  • Good for short –term rotations
  • Good persistence
  • Good quality
Frosty Berseem Clover

Description:

  • Fast-growing summer annual, great smother crop
  • Heavy nitrogen producer
  • Works well as a small grain companion
  • Kills when temperatures are below 20°F
Crimson Clover

Description:

  • Fast establishing in the fall
  • Moderately winter-hardy
  • Early spring growth and blooming allows for early spring planting of cash crop
  • Mixes well with small grains, ryegrass, and other grasses and legumes
Nitro Radish

Description:

  • Fast Establishing
  • Biofumigant characteristics
  • Consistent root growth
  • Bred to grow straight down to penetrate hardpan
Barkant Turnips

Description:

  • High bulb yield with vigorous top growth
  • 8-10 weeks to first grazing
  • Up to 4-6 tons of dry matter
  • Cold tolerant to 20°F
KB Kodiak

Description:

  • Deep roots break up hard pan
  • Establishes quickly to prevent erosion
  • Great weed suppressor and nutrient scavenger
Cowpeas

Description:

  • Double crop/companion crop in South
  • Smother crop or soil builder for the North
  • Provide soil building, quick cover, & weed suppression
Windham Winter Peas

Description:

  • Improved variety
  • The only winter peas with enough winter hardiness for central to upper Midwest
  • Great for mixing with small grains
  • Can produce 4,000-6,000 lbs. biomass
Hairy Vetch

Description:

  • Great N producer at 50% bloom
  • Can lower N expenses by a third to half
  • Works well ahead of corn or sorghums and sudangrass
  • Rapid spring growth gives heavy mulch cover
  • Excellent spring weed suppression and erosion control
  • Can no-till into mulch layer
  • Holds moisture for following crop
  • Works well as a green manure
Buckwheat

Description:

  • Often used as a summer cover crop to suppress weeds
  • Delicate, fibrous root system
  • Establishes very quickly
  • Mellows the soil and encourages soil aggregation
  • Great for bringing ideal ground into production
  • Tremendous scavenger
  • Residue decomposes quickly
Winfred

Description:

  • Upright growth, not a bulb type
  • Plant in spring or early fall
  • Slower growth
  • Winter hardy to –5°F
  • Stays green after frost, maintaining leaf integrity
  • Most drought tolerant
  • Works as a biofumigant
T-raptor Rape

Description:

  • Vigorous regrowth
  • Very leafy with no bulb
  • Quick growth: 6-8 weeks to first grazing; good choice for multiple grazings
  • Cold tolerant to 18°F