Virtual Breakfast 7-18-19: Cover Crops for Preventative Planting, Forage and Following Wheat

Virtual Breakfast 7-18-19: Cover Crops for Preventative Planting, Forage and Following Wheat


– [Monica] Good morning, everyone. Thanks for taking the time to join us on the Field Crops Virtual Breakfast, where we really appreciate it. Today we have Dean Baas on. He’s our sustainable ag
educator at MSU Extension, and he’s going to be
discussing cover crops for preventative planting, forage, and options following wheat. So Dean, with that, please take it away. – [Dean] Okay, thanks, Monica. As Monica said, we got
a lot going on this year with the wet spring that we had. We’ve got preventative planting. We’ve got emergency forage issues. And now we’re rapidly approaching, if not already, following
wheat, wheat harvest. And so I wanted to talk a
little bit about cover crops, try to cover all those topics in the brief time that I have, so I’m gonna get going here. We’ve had the challenges,
preventative planting, forage shortages, we’ve
got a later wheat harvest. We’ve got cover crop opportunities that should be considered as part of the strategy to
address these challenges. I wanna point out, particularly
under prevented planting, MSU has a number of resources. There is a delayed planting website. I’m not gonna read you the address. For those of you who aren’t on computer, do a Google search on delayed planting, Michigan State University, and it will pop right up,
the link to that site. We also have resources
concerning cover crops and delayed planting,
cover crops in general. And that’s on covercrops.msu.edu. If you can’t remember that, again, if you type in cover crops,
Michigan State University, that will be right at the
top of the search as well. On that, on the cover crops site we have recommendations for cover
crops for prevented planting and also directions on corn
and soy beans as cover crops, which we’re gonna talk about
a little bit here in a minute. If you have prevented planting acres, we really like farmers to consider cover crops on these acres. We really wanna avoid
further soil degradation, and if you put cover crops on there, there’s an opportunity to improve your soil resiliency in the future, hopefully getting some root growth. Root passages will give you the capacity to take that water a little
bit more in the future. The period following prevented planting, it’s really an opportunity to benefit from cover crops because
you can take advantage of a longer cover crop growing season than we traditionally can in Michigan. Typically, you have the
longer season after wheat, but a lot of these
prevented planting acres are corn and soybeans. And we really have a short window after corn and soybeans
to get cover crops growing and take advantage of them in the fall. So if you’ve been unable to plant your corn or soybean acres, you’ve really got a nice growing period where you can build some biomass. And there’s a lot of benefits. We definitely watch protection
from wind and water erosion. You have an opportunity to
increase soil organic matter, get some additional soil or organic matter in larger quantities than you can traditionally longer
for corn and soybeans. Anything you can do that with cover crops that help to improve soil structure will increase the soil permeability, and ultimately, increase
water holding capacity. Also, we wanna reduce nutrient losses. If you’ve got some
nutrients on those fields, we wanna keep ’em there and improve the soil biological activity by building some carbon. And you do have an opportunity if you use some legumes to
build some soil nitrogen. So there’s a lot of
benefits using cover crops. And we really wanna encourage people to consider your goals
if you are gonna put cover crops on prevented planting acres so that you can get the
most bang for your buck. I wanna talk about some of the Risk Management Agency adjustments that have come this year. They announced change to
haying and grazing date for prevented planting acres
planted to a cover crop. They determined that silage, haylage, and baleage should be
treated in the same manner as haying and grazing for this year. Producers can hay,
graze, or cut cover crops for silage, haylage, or baleage on prevented planting planting acres. And they moved up the date to on or after September 1,
instead of November 1. And that will still maintain eligibility for full 2019 prevented
planting indemnity. If you have a need for forage, or you have a neighbor
who has a need for forage, the Risk Management Association has made adjustments for that. And they have done this because of the shortage in forage. So that was their sole
reason for doing this. And this adjustment has
been made for 2019 only. This has brought up some
questions from people. They said, okay, so I can
grow a cover crop as forage. Can corn and soybeans
be grown as cover crops on prevented planting acres
and be harvested for forage? And RMA has said yes, the cover crop may be the same crop
prevented from planting, and may still retain eligibility for prevented planting
payment if recognized as agronomically sound
by agricultural experts. MSU Extension is considered
one of the agricultural experts and we issued guidance through an article on June 25th, where we recognized corn and soybeans as agronomically sound for cover crops on prevented
planting acres in Michigan. And further, we recommend
that the seeding rates be in the range of 28,000
to 40,000 seeds per acre based on your soil type, 30 inch rows or less spacing, fertility to meet
biomass and forage goals, and herbicides and pesticides for weed and insect control. That’s for corn. For soybeans, a minimum seeding rate of 150,000 seeds per acre. Again, 30 inch rows or less spacing. Less is preferred on
soybeans, if possible, but we’re not requiring it. And herbicides and insecticides
for weed and insect control. The goal here, and we felt as a group, is to produce good forage, that we did not wanna put
a bunch of restrictions around farmers while
they tried to do that. We wanted to follow your best practices, the things that you already
are doing to produce forage because we are in a
forage shortage situation. The second question that came up was, if a cover crop is harvested
on or after September 1, can the insured sell the forage? And yes, if a cover crop is harvested on or after September
1, the insured can sell, use or sell the forage and receive a full prevented planting payment, provided all other policy
provisions have been met. So what it comes down to is
you can grow corn or soybeans as a cover crop on
prevented planting acres. You can harvest it as
forage, and you can sell it. And provided you meet
all the other provisions of your policy, you should be able to get full crop insurance on that. So the other discussion,
there’s been a lot about, is it a cover crop or is it a forage? Which there’s people going back and forth, feeling that there’s
really a difference there. And my feeling on this is it’s both. Biomass is the goal, whether it’s a cover crop or a forage. The difference is if you’re gonna grow the cover crop as a forage, you need to consider the
quality of that forage. And there’s additional
guidance on emergency forages. And that’s available on the
MSU Extension forages website. And you can get direction on
emergency hay and forage crops, and you can use that direction as you’re considering
a cover crop as forage, or a forage as a cover crop. I don’t really think that it makes that, that’s just a matter of
how you wanna define it. Again, if you type in a Google search, MSU Extension forages,
you’ll find that website right at the top of the list, and you can go check that out. When it comes to a cover crop though, fall residue is still important. So I really encourage folks, if you are harvesting the
cover crop as a forage, to do it as soon as possible on or after September 1st to allow for regrowth. We want that regrowth
to give us the residue in the fall to protect for erosion. Some other considerations
on cover crops as forages. We recommend that producers review their herbicide programs
and seed treatments for livestock feeding restrictions when considering cover crops including corn and soybeans as emergency forages. Make sure that, particularly
your herbicide program, that you don’t have restrictions that prevent you from
using that as forage. And also, consult with,
if you’re using GMO seed, consult with your seed
contract and seed dealer to ensure that your seed
can be used as a cover crop. There may be some restrictions there. Additionally, in whatever
you’re considering doing with these cropping plans
on prevented planting acres, make sure you consult
your Farm Service Agency and crop insurer just to make sure that everybody’s clear
on what you’re doing and that it’s allowed,
and it’s not gonna get you into a problem with your
prevented planting payment. The crop insurance companies are aware of the guidance from
MSU and should be able to work with you on that situation. So where do we stand on
cover crops at this time? Really, regardless of the situation, we’re at the period of time where you really wanna
follow the recommendations for cover crops after wheat. Even if you’re not
planting them after wheat, this is the time period if
you have not planted them yet and going to be planting cover crops, look at cover crops after wheat. For those of you who are on the phone and you can’t see this,
but we have a table in our cover crops for prevented planting that gives the recommendations, things like annual ryegrass, barley, oats, rye, wheat, sorghum-sudangrass, all of those types of things are options. You’re gonna wanna check your seed supply. There are some things
that are in short supply, so you may have to go
with what’s available. We give the benefits of each. And again, I encourage
people to consider the goals. Why do you, what benefits
can you get on the field that you’re considering
using the cover crops on? Also, I wanna recommend that people go to the Midwest Cover Crop Council
Cover Crop Decision Tool. And that’s at mccc.msu.edu. You can get better guidance on planting windows for
different cover crops. Put in Michigan, your
county, and it will give you a list of cover crops and planting dates. We have cover crop resources. And like I said, the Cover Crop website, Midwest Cover Crop Council, there’s a “Midwest
Cover Crop Field Guide,” and the Sustainable Ag
Research and Education cover program has a lot
of cover crop resources. And finally, we have
the MSU Cover Crop Team. If you go to the Cover Crop website, you can find the list of that team. And all of us are available
to answer your questions. It’s our job, so feel free to contact us. Also, wanna remind people, again, about the delayed planting resources and the upcoming
Agricultural Innovation Day, which is next week on Friday at MSU. The Focus on Precision Technology
That Pays is the topic. So thank you for attending. We could take some questions. – [Monica] Thank you, Dean. Do we have any questions? – [Dean] We have a
question in the chat box concerning the soybean
cyst nematode trap crop. Basically, Defender is gonna act like any other oilseed radish as
far as the depth of roots. So it really depends on when you plant it. If you plant it early,
it has a greater chance of getting to flowering,
although this time of year, we’re kind of on the border on that. – [Dean] So you’ll get a smaller root. If you plant it later,
you’ll get a bigger root. There’s been a lot of discussion about oilseed radish and plugging tile lines. I don’t believe that oilseed radish is any more prone to plugging tile lines than any other cover crop. Typically, where we have problems with roots plugging tile lines, we already have a problem with the tile system at that point. And so usually it’s a
low point in the tile where there’s standing water and the roots find that standing
water and plug the tiles. Peoples tend to blame oilseed
radish a lot for that. I don’t know, I don’t
really have any evidence that oilseed radish is any worse than anything else for that problem. If anybody else has
some insight into that, I would encourage them to
jump into the discussion. A neighbor to the west that’s
currently growing sugar beets and the field has winter wheat, I really do not know how far soybean cyst nematodes travel. So as far as how wide of an area to the property line
to plant the trap crop, I would probably plant at
least a pretty good strip, maybe 50, 100 foot wide. – [Monica] Chris DiFonzo is on. I guess, Chris, if you have any input unto those couple questions, that would be great about the
soybean cyst nematode traps along the wood edge,
how wide should they be? – [Phil] Actually, they’re asking about sugar beets, not
soybeans, so I would– – [Chris] SBCAs, so the
sugar beet cyst nematode. – [Monica] Oh, I’m sorry.
– [Phil] I would encourage them to contact Dr. Marisol Quintanilla. – [Dean] Yeah. – [Chris] I mean, nematodes don’t move. They’re not like running
across the field or something. I mean, they’re slow movers. And, of course, moving soil
and water movement of soil, it would probably be the way that they get moved most rapidly. But I can’t really speak to this, so. – [Monica] Okay, sorry about that. – [Dean] Yeah, and I apologize. That is sugar beet cyst nematode. There was an S-B, S-B, and– – [Monica] Not everything’s
about soybeans, my bad. – [Vicki] But, of course,
as with all nematodes, like Chris said, they don’t move much, but sanitation is critical. Just that’s, equipment
movement is probably, your equipment movement
and product movement is, I mean, that’s how, when
the sugar beet cyst nematode got started, right, was
the wash water in Germany. And they didn’t realize
and they were moving nematode as they were transporting water and movement, tried
to save water and whatnot. So that’s with– – [Chris] Pulling this? – [Vicki] Pretty much all nematodes. – [Chris] And this question
is about a trap crop, so if this were insects,
insects move, fly, and they can fly a considerable distance to go accumulate onto to a trap crop. In this case, he wants
to plant a trap crop along an edge with a neighbor. And they’re not like
going from your neighbor and flying across, so when
I think about a trap crop versus nematode, I think about it kind of for the hatching of the nematode. So it’s in place, almost like
the whole field or something. – [Vicki] Yes, but you’re cultivating, and when you cultivate–
– [Chris] Right. – [Vicki] That’s when
the movement can occur. – [Monica] Well, hearing
no more questions, and since we’re past our time, I wanna thank everyone for
getting on and attending today. If you could please follow that link in the chat box and give us some feedback, we’d greatly appreciate it. Otherwise, we hope to see you at the Ag Innovation Field
Day, which is next Friday, and also on our call next Thursday. Thank you, again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *