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Jam Lady

Arial Seeding of Cover Crops

Interesting concept: http://www.nj.com/hunterdon/index.ssf/2016/08/airplanes_to_seed_central_jersey_farm_fields_this.html#incart_river_index

Especially as it is done over existing, growing, soybean and corn (maize) crops. Field corn, not sweet corn I expect.
dpack

with a big area to sow it does make sense to fly rather than drive.
Slim

The biggest concern leading to flying is frequently a desire to not lodge the standing corn silage crops. At least up here in dairy country.

I assume it's a similar crop being trialed in New Jersey.

Hopefully the NRCS down there has been in communication with NRCS and extension up here as they've had some painful learning experiences with aerial seeding (by helicopter)

Maybe our folks need to be in better communication with the NJ folks, as fixed wing seems like it would be cheaper.

I think we use helicopters up here because of the rolling hills necessitating a bit more aerial agility
NorthernMonkeyGirl

Drones would be the obvious next step?
Mistress Rose

The article was a bit short of information, but assume that the crops are ploughed in before sowing the next crop. Seems like a good idea if there is a huge area to cover. Round here they sometime sow directly into stubble, so the ground remains covered the whole time. Other places they plough the stubble in, but no idea why some ploughed and some not. It is probably to do with equipment available, type of soil and farmers preference.
Slim

The article was a bit short of information, but assume that the crops are ploughed in before sowing the next crop. Seems like a good idea if there is a huge area to cover. Round here they sometime sow directly into stubble, so the ground remains covered the whole time. Other places they plough the stubble in, but no idea why some ploughed and some not. It is probably to do with equipment available, type of soil and farmers preference.


Which crop are you assuming is plowed in? The idea of aerial seeding is usually used in my neck of the woods to get a winter cover crop on while the corn silage crop is still standing, as there's not enough time to get a good cover crop established after harvest. The cover crop is either terminated with herbicide (or a roller-crimper if allowed to get to anthesis) in the spring for those using no-till systems, or plowed under for those using conventional tillage.
Mistress Rose

As one of the crops quoted was clover, I assumed they were all nitrogen fixing in some way so that they would be ploughed in for nutrients.
Slim

Well either way you terminate the cover crops you release the nutrients that were tied up. Frequently what you're recovering is in the root section, so the no till folks might see a greater release, though slower acting.

Legumes typically chosen to fix new nitrogen, grasses to scavenge pre-existing nitrogen (and potassium) and to stabilize soil and build organic matter. Deep-rooted radishes (like daikon "tillage radish") are often included to create soil macro-pores and to deliver a good dose of carbon to the worms that will help decompose them (building soil organic matter).

The shotgun approach of "cover crop cocktails" is pretty popular right now
Mistress Rose

I didn't know about the radish, thanks Slim. Cover crops do have the advantage of stabalising the soil, which could be why they are generally popular. Think that is why they are just slitting some fields here with the stubble left on so the soil is never exposed.
Slim

...they are just slitting some fields here with the stubble left on so the soil is never exposed.


Just to make sure we're speaking the same english... I believe that you're describing no-till agriculture here, where specialized planters seed directly into a prior crop's residue without any plowing?
Mistress Rose

Yes, that is what I mean. Some places here plough and others do the no-till.
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