Cover Crops After Wheat

Cover Crops After Wheat

August 2, 2021

With the challenging wheat harvest behind us in Southern Ontario and progressing through most of the province, there is still opportunity to make a positive change to overcome some of the misdeeds done to our fields through harvest using cover crops.

While cover crops alone can’t work magic, they can be part of a program to address issues like:

  • Compaction or plow pan
  • Wind and water erosion
  • Nitrogen loss
  • Poor soil structure
  • Poor organic matter
  • Weed control

Following wheat harvest is the easiest way to get started with cover crops, and there are a number of different ways to go about implementing your cover crop plan.

Here is a list of important things to remember:

Have a goal

  • Are you looking for erosion control, nitrogen production, or compaction remediation?
  • Plowdown or livestock grazing?

Have a plan for establishment and termination

  • Drill or broadcast?
  • Do you want an overwintering crop or one that winterkills?
  • Is the species you use hard to kill or simple burndown

Know your cover crop species

  • You aren’t looking for weed problems next season if the covers go to seed
  • Some are easier to get established than others
  • Some are easier to control than others

Start simple

  • Oats and radish are easy to establish and winterkill
  • Sunflowers can add some nice roots and look pretty
  • Get comfortable with covers before trying something extravagant and being disappointed if it doesn’t work out immediately

A great resource to get started on your journey is with the Cover Crop Decision Tool.

Still have questions or need help implementing your plan? TALK TO US!