This project is primarily focused on using a different method for seeding cover crops, evaluating how it is different from other seeding methods through on-farm research demonstrations, and sharing these results directly with farmers. The project will explore the use of corn and soybean planters to seed a cereal rye cover crop. The main crop of corn or soybeans will be planted offset from the cover crop row using GPS guidance to reduce interference with seed placement or negatively affect early growth, particularly for corn. The project will compare narrow cover crop row spacing, no cover, and surface broadcast seeding methods. Along with crop yield, other data will be collected including rye biomass, plant population, growth stage, soil nitrate and ammonium, ground cover, and corn stalk nitrate tests. From this data, comparison of establishment methods for agronomic system performance, cost effectiveness, and potential for yield risk mitigation will be evaluated.
Roger Wolf is the director of the Iowa Soybean Association's Environmental Programs and Services (EPS). He supervises staff that conduct water quality analysis, watershed planning, conservation technical assistance, and research projects.