Cover Crop Studies & Trials

Cover Crop information map

Summary report of rye as a cover crop prior to 2003 organic soybeans

Winter rye was grown at the Allison Farm with the expectations that it would benefit our organic operation in several ways including soil and nutrient conservation, soil tilth, and weed suppression. This farm also has poorly drained soil that we hoped might benefit from the rye using up some of the excess moisture in the spring.

A certified organic Aroostook cereal rye was broadcasted on 12/3/02 at a rate of 2 bu/ac (112#/ac) and culti-mulched with the teeth up about a week later to ensure good seed to soil contact. On 5/8/03, a small section of the 16” to 18” tall rye was flail mowed down to the height of 8”. On 5/19/03, we got
back into the field and flail mowed both, the previously mowed section and the untouched section. The majority of the field had not been previously mowed and was between 36” and 42” tall, while the previously mowed section had grown back to about 20” to 24” tall. We feel that one flail mowing instead of two was sufficient. It should be noted that rye will grow fast in the spring, so be prepared to incorporate it before it gets too difficult to handle.

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