The wheat is coming off, and the number of drills out in Ontario fields planting cover crops is astonishing. There are clouds of dust everywhere — from a twenty-foot drill seeding oats, to a floater broadcasting cover crop seed with the fertilizer, Ontario farmers are adopting cover crops in a big way.
Many think every acre should have a cover crop, and Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson thinks that zero bare acres is a real possibility this year. (Don’t farm naked means keeping soil covered!)
Compared to five years ago, when bare wheat stubble was the accepted norm, cover crops are now becoming the standard practice these days says Johnson. Recent rains in Ontario will also help with germination and emergence of this year’s cover crop. Cover crops offer a long list of benefits, including weed control, helping to build soil structure, and increasing organic matter — the combination seems pretty ideal!
But what about double-cropping soybeans? Well, soybean is better than no cover crop at all, but research shows that soybeans don’t do great things for soil. The more you grow them, the more disease and insect pressure you will face. “If they mature, and you get 40 bushels, you’ll look like a wizard,” says Johnson. But, if you have those disease or insect issues, you won’t get the same kind of yield the second time around.
Check out the full conversation between RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney and Peter Johnson, below: