b'COVER CROP CORNERSETTING GOALS IN COVER CROPPING:A KEY TO SUCCESSWHERE ARE YOU going? How soon do you wantour issues.to get there? These are questions we need toOnce the goals have be set, then species ask before we head out on a journey. Thiscan be picked based on when they grow, goes for a management journey also.how they grow, what other plants are grow-In mapping out your plan, you have threeing with them, root type, last crop and next options but only get to pick two. Good, fast,crop. We want to maximize synergies and and inexpensive. If you want something thatminimize any antagonisms and future con-is good and fast, it most likely will not betaminations. Seeding rates of the cover crop Kevin Elmy cheap. If something is good and inexpensive,will reflect your goals and how it is to be Elmy is founder of Coverit may not be fast to get done. Of course, theseeded. Crops Canada. His book Cover Cropping in Westernrelativity and importance of each will be inBroadcasting rates need to compensate for Canada is availablethe eyes of the beholder. higher seedling mortality. Higher rates will be through Friesen Press,When it comes to cover cropping, settingrequired if planning on postharvest grazing Amazon, and digitallygoals should be the first thing that needs toor for weed suppression for either broadcast-through Apple Books,be tackled. Not having a plan for your covering or drilling. As a rule, legume cover crops Kindle, and Google Play. For more info on Covercrop is like saying you will grow a cerealcan be seeded at higher rates than grasses Crops Canada visitgrain crop in the field, plant oat and wonderor broadleaf without causing a yield penalty covercrops.ca why the barley maltsters will not accept it forin the cash crop, as long as the legume does a malting contract.not get too tall nor smother the cash crop. Once goals have been set then species,Legumes have co-evolved with grasses so seeding rates, seeding date, and other man- they play nice with each other in a mix.agement decisions can be made to maximizeThe biggest challenges when getting into the benefits of the cover crop. Climate will becover cropping are choosing the species that a large influence on the success of the coverwill get the job done while creating the least crop, but lets make sure the variables we canamount of issues and maximizing benefits. influence are covered the best we can. For example, radish are famous for breaking What goals can we pick? Usually, we wantup hardpan, but because they are a Brassica to strengthen our system; the chain is only asthey are nutrient scavengers and will compete strong as the weakest link. We want to lookfor nutrients with your cash crop, and they at our system, soils, plants, animals, water,will bolt after about 40days of growth, cre-nutrients, and production to see what needsating a potential issue when harvesting. They to be addressed. Several symptoms can beneed to be seeded so they do not bolt before traced back to a common issue. Low grainharvest, or be seeded postharvest. yield can be influenced by poor soil nutri- Cover cropping does not have to be overly ents, compaction, low water infiltration, lowcomplicated. It is complex, which nature is. active soil biology, low water infiltration andSome of the keys are using multiple func-low water retention, to name a few.tional plant groups. Namely, grass, legume, We need to be able to identify an issueBrassica, non-Brassica and forb, of which as a symptom or a root cause. Attempting tothere are cool and warm species, annual, fix a symptom may not make the problembiennial and perennial species of most go away. If compaction is an issue that is notgroups. allowing the plant to root properly to accessHaving a plan in place before pulling the soil nutrients and water, adding more ferti- trigger on cover cropping reduces stress and lizer without addressing the compaction mayincreases the chances for success. Successful not result in much of a yield response. Wecover cropping means solving that issue and need to be able to identify the root causes ofgetting ready to tackle the next. 32GERMINATION.CAMARCH 2023'