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21. Cover Crop Innovations

Advanced cover cropping strategies for specific goals and how to evaluate them. Grower Panel: Dan Petker, Petker Farms and Rick Kootstra, Kootstra Farms

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21. Cover Crop Innovations

  1. 1. Rick Kootstra Clinton, Ontario
  2. 2. About Kootstra Farms Ltd.  We farm near Clinton, Ontario in Huron County  Our operation includes cash cropping as well as livestock with broilers & layers  We try to stick to a 4 year rotation  All fields receive manure at least once every three years  Have been rotational no-till for many years  Went full strip-till in 2012  We have been cover cropping for many years, but really ramped it up after 2012
  3. 3. Soil Health
  4. 4. NO Does it blow or flow away? YES YES Does it allow water to soak in quickly? NO YES Does it drain? NO NO Does it crust? YES YES Does your crop recover most of the nutrients you apply? NO NO Are there areas where plants die or grow poorly YES Is your soil healthy? Probably healthy Probably not healthy Source: Andrew McGuire (WSU) & Carley Gasch (NDSU)
  5. 5. COVER CROPS Every cover crop will provide 3 things 1. Erosion protection 2. Nutrient retention 3. Biological weed control
  6. 6. Cover Crop Biological Benefits CEREAL RYE FLEABANE SUPPRESSION & CONTROL RADISH CONTROLS SOYBEAN CYST NEMATODE OATS ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI FABA BEANS NITROGEN BLACK RAPE SEED COMPACTION AUSTRIAN PEAS NITROGEN & WEED SUPPRESSION RED CLOVER NITROGEN & WEED SUPPRESSION WHITE CLOVER NITROGEN & WEED SUPPRESSION
  7. 7. 0.00% 1.00% 2.00% 3.00% 4.00% 5.00% 6.00% 7.00% Field 1 Field 2 Field 3 Field 4 3.80% 3.80% 3.80% 4.90%4.80% 4.40% 4.30% 6.30% OM % Increase Over Time 2012 2018
  8. 8. Rule #1: Never lose soil Rule #2: Never forget Rule #1
  9. 9. Cover Crops
  10. 10. Who is your go to guy? Find your peer group
  11. 11. “ ” “Just as our skin does not like to be poked, scratched, cut, gouged, squashed, burned, left cold and naked, beat up (even with raindrops) then left to sunburn…..NEITHER DO OUR SOILS -Bieber Faerber
  12. 12. Twin Row Wheat Relay
  13. 13. Relay Beans
  14. 14. Strip Till
  15. 15. 60 inch corn Opportunity?
  16. 16. 60 inch Corn  Less input cost  Cover crop installed and growing  Can be a companion crop using red & white clover providing late season nitrogen supply  L.A.I. – LEAF AREA INDEX
  17. 17. -Loran Steinlage
  18. 18. Drainage & Water Quality
  19. 19. Wetlands & Swamps
  20. 20. Drainage Innovations A Huron County Soil & Crop Project
  21. 21. Drainage outlets
  22. 22. “ ” Don’t Wait. The time will never be just right. -Mark Twain
  23. 23. Thank you! Rick Kootstra Clinton, Ontario @RicksZone

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