Summer cover crop trial Dec 2012

Well ,this has been a long time coming.  By request, this is a recent update on the latest trial.

Summer cover crop plan Dec 2012

Summer cover crop plan Dec 2012.


These spp and cv were chosen based on what was available, recommended, and out of  plain curiosity.  They were sown in 1m long paired rows between short wheat stubble rows around Dec. 15 2012 after a 40 point rainfall event.  Half the rows were hand watered for a few weeks after that to simulate wetter conditions.  The soil is alkaline shallow loam over clay, sprayed with “Ally” last year.

What I did right:  Fenced it off – for sheep anyway.  Rabbits were not going to be a problem, unlike the previous year (a story for another day).

– had seed organised and treated (guar was innoculated), and the plot planned.

– watered it properly, in March, with a fire truck.

-had the plot close enough to home for easy observations.

What I could do better – site the trial somewhere it could easily be watered, by irrigation/ sprinkler at the turn of a tap.

– watered it earlier than I did.  After a near record dry summer period (6 months), March 15 was way too late, I think, to simulate summer rainfall.  The plants grew like an early autumn break.

– leave a little more space between the ends of the rows – at least a boot width.

– use the freshest seed possible.  I wonder if the cowpea, lab lab from the previous year were too old.

Initial results:  Since it was so dry everywhere, not even weeds grew.  The initial 40 points grew nearly nothing in the first fortnight, even where I watered the rows.  Some plants grew, but if not the first 40C heatwave nuked them, the 2nd an 3rd heatwaves did.  After the March watering, the most notable germination was from weeds, responding like an autumn break.  They included self sown wheat, ryegrass, canola, marshmallows, bindii, paddy melons, mustard.  The wheat is already headed and in trial

A close up of the niger in flower today, then shots from 2 weeks ago:  the most pleasing results for me. trial niger trial Niger 8 trial niger June 8

The millets grew slowly and got lost amongst the ryegrass, so I add them to show they did germinate. In order:  panorama fox millet, red panicum, shirohie, French white millet. trial Panorama trial red trial trial Fr Wh Millet

The other results are for later update or comment.


About covercropper

G'day, I'm a grain grower in the NW Wimmera area of Victoria, Australia. This blog is to share my journey of exploring cover cropping here, mostly summer mixes /cocktails. How to, what, when, will it work in improving our soils, productivity and profits?
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