By Austin Carlson, SD Soil Health Coalition Technician
Southeastern South Dakota has been fairly dry throughout the summer, receiving approximately 13.25 inches of precipitation for the year with minimal amounts of rain in the last month. Since the last plot update on August 6 during the virtual field tour, the cover crop is feeling the effects of the dry soil conditions.
The attached pictures were taken on September 8. Most of the grass cover crop species seem to be exhibiting the most stress while the radish, rapeseed, cowpeas, flax and some of the crimson clover appear to be maintaining.
This is the first year experimenting with this interseeding mix with the goals of maintaining corn production and providing an additional livestock grazing opportunity after corn harvest. The decision to withhold warm season grass species in the mix was made to eliminate some direct competition with the corn which will limit some grazing biomass. As the summer heat wanes, the cool season broadleaves that are still growing will be expected to provide even more grazing biomass, especially if they get a rain.
Various data points in addition to grain yield and livestock grazing opportunity will be collected and shared in the coming months.