John Werries, Chapin, Ill.
We are so enthused about cover crops. We think they have paid off this year.
We went to several conferences and did a lot of study. Everyone tells you to start small, but we bought a 40-foot air seeder and air cart, and we sowed all 3,800 acres.
Annual rye grass was about $7.50 per acre at the most so it didn’t take too many bushels of corn to pay for seed.
Last spring was very wet here, but with the cover crop we had very little erosion, and the cover crop really sequestered the nitrogen left in the ground by the dry weather in 2012.
We strip-till corn-on-corn, and residue is an issue, but by harvest time the microbial and earthworm activity left us with very little residue. We also had an agronomist taking nitrate samples down to the two-foot level, and he found no compaction layers in our soils.
Our yields were extremely good – 234 bushels per acre for the whole farm average.