Cover crops remain tricky to fit into annual crop rotations in Minnesota, but windows after canning crops, silage, and small grains allow for robust growth. Growers are also experimenting with interseeding cover crops into standing corn and soybean crops to get a longer growing season. The Minnesota Office for Soil Health (MOSH) has a survey of relevant cover crop research available, while practical tips for implementation can be found with the University of Minnesota Extension as well as partners with Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the Natural Resources Conservation Service statewide. Ongoing research and demonstration work includes cover crops with low-disturbance manure systems, cover crop economics, cover crops in wide-row corn, and early summer (prevent plant) cover crop species trials.
Cover Crop Recipes
RECIPE – POST CORN, GOING TO SOYBEAN: USE CEREAL RYE
Since the dominant cropping system in Minnesota is the two-year corn-soybean rotation, this recipe provides an introductory approach for integrating a cereal rye cover crop into the corn year of the rotation.
RECIPE – POST SOYBEAN, GOING TO CORN: USE OATS
Planting a cover crop after small grains, a canning crop, or corn silage will often provide a wider window for establishment before a killing freeze.
Recipe – Post Canning Crops: Use Oats with Radish
Cover crops following canning crops will protect soil from erosion and improve soil structure after heavy harvesting equipment is used to take off the canning crop.
Recipe – Post Corn Silage, Going to Corn: Use Cereal Rye
This recipe provides an introductory approach for integrating a cereal rye cover crop after corn silage harvest and before corn for grain or silage.
Recipe – Post Corn Silage, Going to Soybean: Use Cereal Rye
This recipe provides an introductory approach for integrating a cereal rye cover crop into a corn silage–soybean rotation.