Ride Along Series with Strategic Account Manager

Nov 30, 2021
Name: Braidyn Unruh
Hometown: Newton, Kansas
Territory: Lindsborg (McPherson, Marion, Saline and Rice County)

Q: Name the purpose and uses of cover crops.
Cover crops are intended to be a living, breathing organism that grows between crops to help add value to the soil. They are typically planted in between cash crops. Every operation has unique needs that can be combated using covers. Cover crops can add and break up nutrients that are tied up, combat erosion and control weed pressure. In addition, they can provide extra income sources from cattle through grazing.

Q: How are you fitting cover crops into your rotation?blog_image.png
Cover crops are naturally incorporated in between rotations. Anything that is going back to row crop is encouraged to be followed by a fall cover. This will allow enough time for the soil to benefit and help provide nutrients to next year’s crop. Producers in my area planted heavy legumes on fields that will be planted to nitrogen hungry crops, such as corn and milo. By incorporating these species into rotation during an off season, this can help fixate nitrogen in the soil and reduce fertilizer needs in season. On the other hand, some producers would prefer to use this time as grazing period for their cattle. Grazing covers can include mixes such as turnip, radish, triticale, and rye. This helps provide a vast number of species, which helps with compaction and gives the cattle something hearty to eat. Cover crops, however, are not just planted in the fall. At MKC we help tender a program to your specific needs and help incorporate spring and summer planted mixes based on specific needs.

Q: Which cover crops should producers be planting right now?
The best cover crop to plant during the late November-Early December timeframe is Rye. Rye is a very hardy winter cereal that will overwinter well and green earlier in the spring. With the prolonged warm period we have experienced, you can still retain good benefits by planting rye now. However, most growth will not be seen until spring. Although we are outside of our big window of cover crop planting, now is a great time to work with your MKC Strategic Account Manager to help build the best cover crop plan for this next year. 

Q: How do you intend to terminate your cover crops?
Some of it will be killed by the winter freeze. Triticale and rye will overwinter and then be taken care of with a chemical application in the spring time frame, before heading. Another source of termination is chopping it for silage when it’s still green, haying or grazing out. 

Q: In order to help set a grower up for success, what is one thing you will do in the next 30 days to 
achieve that goal?

With the volatile markets we are in, setting producers up to think about how we are going to play the cards delt in 2022 will be essential. Now is the time to be creative and think outside the box. Cover crops will continue to be a key player in finding areas in your operation that can better implement efficiencies, utilize what we have and provide the added value needed to continue success for the growing season to come!