Delaware Agronomy Blog

University of Delaware Cooperative Extension

Category: Cover Crops (page 2 of 2)

Cover Crop Termination for 2021

Jamie Taraila,  Jarrod Miller,  and Amy Shober

With April and warmer temperatures finally here, it is time to think about cover crop termination. This spring, we expect lower cover crop biomass at burndown due to the cool, wet winter conditions that delayed growth, particularly small grains. Therefore, termination timing decisions are very important this year. We must recognize that there are pros and cons of early and late cover crop termination and make decisions that maximize benefits.

Figure 1: Vetch cover crop before spring corn planting.

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2021 Agronomy Day

January 20th, 2021


You must register to attend and have access to the quizzes for credits:

Current credit approval:

Nutrient Management : DE (2 credits), MD (2 credits)

Pesticide  Continuing Education: DE (4 credits Private and 1A).

CCA Credits (Full Day): 4PM, 1.5NM, 0.5PA.

The full schedule is below

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Early Cover Crop Termination vs Planting Green

Jarrod Miller, Jamie Taraila, and Amy Shober

Farmers must make several decisions when considering termination of cover crops. Early termination is typically the easiest option, since it reduces issues related to planting into a standing cover crop. In 2018, planting green decreased corn stands by 10,000 plants per acre in our Sussex County research plots. This type of stand reduction when planting green is not expected for all soil or cover crop combinations. Continue reading

Considering Fall Cover Crops

Jamie Taraila, UD Graduate Research Assistant, Agronomy

As fall approaches, it is time to start thinking about your cover crop choices. There are three main categories of cover crops: legumes, grasses, and brassicas. Making the decision on which one is right for your operation should be based your current field conditions, management, and expected outcomes. Each category of cover crop has varying benefits that could help to increase yields, improve soil health, and decrease input costs the following planting season.

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How Much N Should You Expect From Your Cover Crop?

Amy Shober, Extension Nutrient Management and Environmental Quality Specialist; ashober@udel.eduand Jarrod O. Miller, Extension Agronomist,

Hairy vetch (left) and crimson clover (right) mixed with rye cover crop plots.

Small grains or legumes are commonly planted as cover crops in Delaware. While small grains are good at scavenging left over soil nitrogen (N) in the fall, they are not as likely as a legume cover crop to release that N early in the spring. It is helpful to remember that the C:N ratio of a cover crop can predict N availability to crops in the spring. A cover crop with a C:N < 20 at termination will be easily broken down by soil microbes and release N to the soil. In contrast, a cover crop with a C:N >30 at termination could result in tie up (immobilization) of soil N. If N is tied up by microbes, it will not be available for the emerging crop in the spring but may be available later in the season as that residue breaks down. Continue reading

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