Cover crops after soybean or corn silage is a great opportunity

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Growing cover crops after soybean or silage harvest creates more challenge than after wheat. Benefits of a cover include erosion control, suppress weeds, nutrient retention and adding organic matter. If you are making manure applications after silage harvest, a cover crop to retain nutrients is a must.

Table 1. Species of cover crops to consider in Ohio after soybean or silage harvest.

SpeciesRemarks
Cereal ryeA traditional cover crop. Requires close attention to management in the spring.
Winter triticaleSome use this for spring chop for livestock, then plant full season soybean or silage again. Watch out for Barley yellow dwarf though if planted early.
Winter wheatYou know this crop and it is easy to manage. Seed readily available.
OatsGrazing. Won’t survive winter but will make it to about Christmas. Some graze oats or wet wrap. Often planted with oilseed radish if early.
Winter peaMy work has shown that if you can get in by about September 21, it will overwinter.

Table 2 provides my suggested list of common cover crop species. If you want to see more options with species specific information, use the Cover Crop Selector Tool found at https://mccc.msu.edu/selector-tool/ to identify suitable species based on planting date and your goals for a using cover crop. 

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