How Rich Bennett Uses Cover Crops

A quick look at his program.

In fall, following corn harvest, Rich broadcasts 2 bushels of rye per acre into corn stubble with a fertilizer spreader, disking lightly for good seed-to-soil contact. The seed spreads a blanket of green over the topsoil, until it’s terminated for soybean planting in spring.

In spring, he drills Roundup Ready soybeans in seven-inch rows into the standing rye, using a drill with double-disc openers and wheel closers. He sprays 1 quart of Roundup per acre at planting to kill the rye, then another quart later in the season. While he used to add another herbicide at this second spraying, Rich says he can now normally skip it, because the rye has shaded out weeds.

Rich drills wheat into soybean stubble on some of his fields. Some type of cover, usually rye, may follow the wheat harvest, although lately he has been double-cropping soybeans after he takes the wheat. After Rich combines the double-cropped beans, it’s usually too late in the season to establish a cover crop, so he leaves the field as is and prepares it for corn planting the following spring.

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