For all cover croppers, or aspiring cover croppers, please keep in mind that it’s important to be careful when sourcing cereal rye seed. Recent data just released by the Indiana State Seed Lab reveals a high discrepancy between seed samples involving both germination rates and percentage of weed seed.
For example, 23% of locally grown cereal rye had germination rates of below 50%. Compare that with North Dakota or Canadian grown cereal rye which exceeded 90% germination (2017 data). Concerning weed seed, several 2018 samples of cereal rye contained more than 10 species of weed seeds.
Low germination rates and high amounts of weed seed should caution all cover croppers to carefully evaluate their seed sources. It’s very possible that a cheaper source of cereal rye will actually turn out to be more expensive when considering that much of the seed may not grow, and you may experience greater out-of-pocket costs the following growing season controlling weeds that you inadvertently planted.
To read the full report from the Indiana State Seed Lab, click here.