High-boy Cover Crop Seeding Demonstration

High boy seeder
Figure 1. High boy seeders like this are one method for interseeding plants into growing crops to provide a longer season for cover crops. (Photo by Jeremy Milander)

High-boy Cover Crop Seeding Demonstration

Are you looking for another option for planting cover crops? Does the harvest season time-crunch limit your ability to fully capitalize on the long-term benefits of using cover crops? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you’ll want to attend the field demonstration on Friday, September 20 near Creighton to learn about methods and benefits of the early establishment of cover crops.

The Bazile Groundwater Management Area (BGMA) project team and the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy have teamed up to demonstrate a high-clearance applicator that could be used for seeding a cover crop into a growing crop pre-harvest.

BGMA Extension Educator Jeremy Milander said, “With the high clearance applicator, cover crops can be planted before harvest and the seed-to-soil contact will improve germination success as compared to aerial seeding. It is hypothesized that the pre-harvest planting of cover crops will allow for earlier germination and growth, which ultimately means greater biomass production.”

“This early growth will help to armor the soil," he said, "and the grower may also be able to improve germination by capitalizing on late-season precipitation or crop irrigation events.”

The high-clearance applicator is equipped with a pneumatic seeding unit and in-the-row drop nozzles. This design allows for applying seed in a standing crop and will eliminate some of the seed loss or drift that can occur with aerial seeding of a cover crop.

The high-clearance applicator will be demonstrated in three plots in the Bazile Groundwater Management Area, starting with the Jim Fuchtman farm, east of Creighton at 10:30 a.m. Meet at Midwest Seed in Creighton at 53105 HWY 59 to view the applicator in action and then stay for lunch. Afterward, demonstrations will continue at two more plots in the BGMA. The plots are provided by Albert Friedrich of Plainview and Garrett, Mark, and Scott Carpenter of Creighton.

Cover crops prevent erosion, improve soil’s physical and biological properties, sequester excess nutrients, suppress weeds, improve the water infiltration and water-holding capacity, and break pest cycles along with various other benefits. Contact your local NRD office for more information.