Summer Cover Crop Trial Feb 2014 Week 1

Summer Cover Crop Trial Feb 2014 Week 1

What a difference a good soaking and hot soil will do, after 7 days.

These pics are the plants so far, which have germinated, size being relative to the icypole sticks.  Some strips have not germinated yet.  Most include the selfsown wheat as well, which touches on an old question of mine:  winter or summer, what does all the other ‘rubbish’ do, which comes up among what we sow, and leave to grow?  Will it swamp the desired spp, add to the biomass, carry over diseases etc?  And instead of having the cover crop grow in neat rows for us to sow between next season, will all the rubbish (think of ryegrass, hogweed) between the rows create extra problems for us ‘tyned’ croppers?  But I digress.

I’m amazed at what does come up, and yet would be disappointed if nothing did.  There is a hint of mustard and paddy melons.  Btw, this paddock did NOT get sprayed with Ally or any SUs last year, so nothing should hold back the seedlings after the dry summer.

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Black Chia, cover crop sp.Image

Adzuki beans. cover crop sp

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African Marigold “Crackerjack”, cover crop sp.

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Aussie Gold Sunflowers, cover crop sp.

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Burgundy Bean, cover crop sp.

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Butterfly pea, cover crop sp.  The seed was treated with boiling water first.

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Ebony Cowpea, cover crop sp.  As always, very impressive, and it is easy to see why it is a staple part of a cover crop mix.

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French White Millet, ever reliable, possibly the cheapest part of a mix.

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Green Amaranth, cover crop sp.  With red leaves as a seedling, go figure.  I am impressed that they have shown up after a week – usually I see nothing for 2 weeks.

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Guar, cover crop sp.  This is the untreated strip, the seed strip innoculated had not shown much growth yet.  Indeed, none of the legumes have been innoculated, but ideally should be.  That is a discussion for another post.

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Kenaf, cover crop sp.  This one poor seed was lucky to hide in a packet last year.

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Sorghum X sudangrass hybrid “Kow Kandy”, competing with wheat. It’ll grow.

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Lab Lab, cover crop sp.  So far it is as impressive as the cowpeas.

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Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth.  A cover crop contender?  If someone thinks I’m gambling with creating a weed problem for myself, just sing out.  The true Grain Amaranth hasn’t shown yet.

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Mung beans, cover crop sp.  So far this “top 4 legume choice” is proving its worth.  I’ve heard it called ‘mongrel bean’ by those trying to produce seed.

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Foxtail Panorama Millet, cover crop sp.  Small so far, but give it time.

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Pearl Millet, cover crop sp. So far the most impressive grass.

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Red Cowpea, cover crop sp.  On a par with the black, but one type usually outdoes the other here.

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Foxtail Red Panicum Millet, cover crop sp. Small seedlings, but give them time.

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Rice Beans, cover crop sp.  I won’t hold my breath for these, and it took me a while to see they had come up.  But they obviously come up with a good soaking.

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Safflower, cover crop sp.

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Shiroie millet, or Shirohie millet, cover crop sp.  Small so far, and looks very much like a summer ‘weed’.

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Sunn Hemp, cover crop sp.  Since I haven’t said much about it yet, this is a legume, not related to the ‘grass’.  This is one of the most favoured cover crop species in the world, but so far is tricky to source in Australia.  This is the first time I have grown seedlings successfully, so am very happy about the progress.  I do not expect them to go to seed here, nor grow to the usual 2m+ – not enough heat days.

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Tillage radish, cover crop sp.  This I DO expect to go to seed, possibly quickly.  This is normally a winter crop (so on late summer or early autumn rains here), and I want to see what they do in a summer mix.  Being a large seed, I should not be surprised they are large seedlings.

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Sorghum “Ultrafeed”, a forage sorghum hybrid, cover crop sp.  Given time it will be taller than me.  Don’t mind the wheat.

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Amaranth, an unknown sp., the small red leaved plants.  Picked from a local garden from 2m high plants.

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White chia, cover crop sp.  I have high hopes for the chias, being impressed 2 years ago on little rainfall.  The small seedlings are no surprise considering the small size of the seed.

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Winfred forage brassica, cover crop sp.  I still have small hope for this, but am surprised on the germination rate considering the age of the seed.  There are many forage brassicas which can and should be trialled in a mix.

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Overview of the plots, mungbeans in the foreground.

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Summer cover crop mix cocktail, seedlings, high density.  Feb 2014 1 week after planting.  This trial will last until the paddock gets sown in late autumn, maybe 2.5 months.

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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?
This entry was posted in Method, Seed, Summer broadleaf spp, Summer grass spp, Summer legume spp, Trials, Weeds, Winter cc spp and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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