The pictures of this northern Miami County Indiana farm were taken in the fall of 2014 after a moderate frost.
In the spring, oats were planted in this field as a grain crop. However, they were cut for hay instead of grain because large amounts of foxtail took over the field. The oats were not able to be run through the combine, so they were mowed and baled. As a result, a lot of grain was lost and essentially reseeded the oat crop.
After the oats hay/straw was removed, Super Sugar DM (Delayed Maturity) Sorghum Sudangrass was no-tilled into the oats residue. Super Sugar DM is a unique non-BMR sorghum sudangrass that will not set a flower until it is over 90 days old.
The field was then topdressed with 30 lb/ac of N via 28-0-0. The plan was to take one cutting of the sorghum sudangrass/volunteer oats and then leave the regrowth for a cover crop. However, the late summer did not provide enough heat to make any worthwhile forage. The resulting cover crop was a mix of a cool season grass and a warm season grass.
The more diversity between cool and warm season crops and grasses and legume crops, the more beneficial it is to improving soil health. Stay tuned to see what it looks like in the spring as corn is no-tilled into the oat/SSG mixture.
- Both of these grasses will winterkill. The sorghum sudangrass will die with a hard frost, while the oats will survive down to 20-22 degrees F.
- Sorghum sudangrass is a great nutrient scavenger, biomass builder, and has a wonderful fibrous root system.
Both of these cover crops will add tilth to the soil and help suppress weeds.