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Oats in Spring? Corn in Summer?  RSS feed

 
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Hey! I am extremely new.
We have a certified organic farm in western Wi. Last year we did a couple acres of sweet corn. We did so using some pretty hefty tillage due to the invasive quack grass that we have in abundance. It has yet to recover fully from this tillage and the corn seemed quite effective at blocking it out last year.
Our goal is to go no-till. I do not care about timing, we are looking to get to a regenerative type of farming.
I read somewhere, and I can not locate the link, where a farmer planted mid-spring oats, used them as green manure and then plant corn. I want to do this. If I can.
Thoughts? Better approaches? I have the oats and the corn.

TIA
 
pollinator
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If you haven't,  look up gabe brown on youtube. He has an hour presentation that might be a step up from what you are talking about.  Its really inspiring. He is using multiple species with the corn, while the corn is growing. All the species are short enough to not interfere with conventional harvesting techniques.

Where you are planting wheat,/oats for shading , he is using nitrogen fixers and does not fertilize. His rainfall is minimal. Another takeaway is "never see bare soil" which plays into what you are doing.
 
pollinator
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Hi Kyle,

You would be better off seeding Berseem Clover between your corn crop as an understory crop. It will slowly grow in the shade under your corn, then once your corn crop is harvested, the Berseem will quickly come up strong as a green manure crop before winter frost kill. Make sure your Berseem seed is properly inoculated with the appropriate rizobium species and it will fix nitrogen to. You can graze the Berseem clover or just roll it before you drill seed your winter crop. Personally mob grazing can be as effective as rolling, plus you get some manure too. Sheep, goats or cattle can make quick work in mob style grazing.

Winter wheat is a popular over winter crop, if your interested in growing a wheat crop for harvest. If you just want to keep your soil healthy in winter, and grow healthy soil, Annual Ryegrass is a good cover crop to sow for winter. So you can drill seed it in the rolled or grazed down Berseem clover in fall. The frost will definitely kill the Berseem if it presists after grazing/rolling, which will allow the ryegrass to be dominate coming out of winter; then you can roll down the ryegrass to terminate it at  preboot stage when the shaft is brittle, sometime before you drill seed your warm season corn crop with the new Berseem undercrop. You won't have to till ever, just roll and graze, or just roll, then drill seed the next crop.

Hope that helps!
 
pollinator
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Your idea is sound, but you seem to have your timing off.

You plant your winter rye or oats in conjunction with your corn so that your cover crop acts as a weed barrier for the corn. Then you harvest your corn. A lot of farmers who plant corn, conventional and organic, do so this way now. I am not exactly sure though how you will incorporate your green manure cover crop without incorporating (tilling) it though? Nitrogen is easily, and readily lost.

But you could also plant your winter rye in the fall, let it go dormant over the winter, and wait for a crop in the spring. By harvesting that, and then immediately planting short day corn, you could get two crops off the same field in the same year...even here in short-growing season Maine where I live.

But the last two paragraphs are rather different things. The first is for weed control and green manure, while the second paragraph is so a farmer can get two crops.

But the second paragraph would also work for people with livestock. They could harvest their corn for winter feed in the fall, then plant winter rye. By the time the regular pastures start to decline from the cold, the farmer could get a few extra weeks of grazing in. Then pull the livestock for the heart of winter, but return them for a few weeks of early grazing in the spring when the other pastures are not yet greened up. The real question is, is the cost of the seed and fuel to put it down worth it? It could be, depending on how much hay, and how expensive it is for the farmer to buy. But this would greatly extend the grazing season.

This is a nice field of oats I planted two years ago for the sole purpose of weed control in a freshly planted field.


DSCN5174.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCN5174.JPG]
 
Kyle Mjoen
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Thanks everyone!

The plan will be to mow down the grass super short. Use shavings from the chicken coop in the rows and then plant the corn.
Then we’ll use the oats after corn harvest for over winter?
 
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