We can learn something from our dairy and grain producer counterparts out of state. In fact, there’s some great collaborations where problems in one state, such as in Pennsylvania, can lead to solutions in other states, like here in Wisconsin.
John Wallace is an extension weed specialist at Penn State University. He looks at cover crops as a way to stop destructive weeds either as a cover or a forage. And he gets a lot of questions from growers on how to implement covers into their specific rotation.
“We know that cover crops provide early season weed control,” he says. “But cover crops are perhaps the only weed control tool that provide a lot of other services… soil health… soil conservation. There’s already this incentive to cover crop, and so our work asks if there’s some small adjustments or things that you can do in your cover crop management to get that added benefit of weed suppression.”
He also explores how covers work with your existing weed control regime.
With so many different options, regions and soil types, one size doesn’t fit all, how does one begin to make a cover crop recommendation? Wallace says it all depends on your window and your crop rotation, among other things.
He says in Pennsylvania, the growing season is a bit longer, which dictates the types of species available to them. But in Wisconsin, our shorter window may restrict what we can use. You can always find guidance through your extension agent, he says.
Spring green-up is approaching. This time of year, Wallace says growers should be preparing to terminate their cover crop.
“The past couple years, herbicides shortages have been a big issue, and that included… glyphosate, that we need to use for managing cover crops,” he says. “2023 doesn’t look to be quite as much of a problem when it comes to herbicide availability, but that’s still going to be an issue.”
Wallace collaborates with the UW-Madison Division of Extension’s weed science team in some projects, including managing water hemp with cover crops.
Leave a Reply