These year-round foods include: In fact, moisture loss is my primary concern for why cover cropping may NOT be a feasible endeavor for many producers, especially as you move further west across Texas. I encourage growers to tinker a bit and experiment. Fig. Do you have the right equipment? mix has generated substantial vertical growth. The county agent in your area will be the best first contact to determine which cover crop will best suit your needs. 3). But conservation tillage guidelines have always sought to retain at least 30% stubble on the surface. Other species like flax, buckwheat, etc. Pest benefit: The roots of rye trap nematodes and kill them. Summer and winter cover cropping NRCS-Texas Technical Note: TX-PM-14-01 Cover Crops Seed Sort by: Sort by Featured Items Newest Items Bestselling Alphabetical: A to Z Alphabetical: Z to A Avg. Texas A&M Soil & Crop Sciences staff across the state are asked about cover crops on a regular basis. Generally, I find most radishes and turnips, other brassicas (mustards, canola), hairy vetch, Austrian winter peas, and of course your cool-season small grains are adapted. Do you have a residual herbicide on the field? Dryland cover crop mix planted in mid-August 2018, Mitchell Co., TX. A variety of clover is the typical choice of cover crops. Outcompete weeds: When preparing soil for planting, or while taking time off from gardening (for example, during summer breaks at school gardens), the last thing a Central Texas gardener wants is for a carpet of Bermuda grass to take over. Cover cropping is a cheap and effective way to fertilize your garden, hold topsoil in place, and retain moisture during the summer heat. But we cannot assume that root infection with the right N-fixing species-specific. 2. With a limited amount of money that you would be willing to spend, what can you get in terms of pounds of cover crop species per acre? Other species include cowpeas (a few are visible), hairy vetch,* rapeseed,* tillage radish,* buckwheat, sunflower, and flax. If you are buying cover crop seed, factor in some of the considerations above, and then consult the seed supplier and get their “best bet” recommendation to give you a modest level of cover crop seed diversification for limited cost. Cowpeas are a drought-tolerant, warm-weather food legume. This PDF publication lists techincal notes about many summer cover crop species. by Dr. Calvin Trostle, Extension Agronomy, TAMU Soil & Crop Sciences, Lubbock, (806) 723-8432, ctrostle@ag.tamu.edu. If so, then that would eliminate susceptible cover crop species. Most local nurseries carry these cold hardy vegetables all winter long, so you don’t have to worry about sprouting seeds. Drought is more likely in summer, so gardeners must choose cover crop species that not only thrive in heat but are also drought-tolerant. Principles Cover Cropping Arid & Semi-arid Farming Systems NMSU-A150 (PDF) The summer cover crop is a multispecies mixture of 50 percent grass (millet and corn) and 50 percent broadleaves (cowpeas, soybeans, sunn hemp and buckwheat). For many producers the challenge is not as great as it seems—I believe an important consideration is how you might re-equip your planter to plant into more stubble (Fig. This limits cover crop seed costs in the drier western regions of Texas to no more than $16-18/acre. By simply taking up the space in a garden area, cover crops serve as a strong line of defense against weeds. More farmers are asking about it, and some are trying cover cropping in some form. {For summer cover cropping, if biomass is again the goal, then I like conventional (non-BMR) sorghum/sudan as the core component of a cover crop.}. These are: 1) those harvested frequently as grazing, green-chopping, hay or haylage (sudan hybrids, sudan varieties, sudan-johnsongrass types) and 2) those that are harvested only once or twice during the season for silage, green-chop and sometimes hay and bundle feed … Effect of No-till Texas South Plains Zobeck-USDA 2010 (PDF). Few have any crops in the ground and the weeds have taken over. Advantages of a legume cover crop are: Contact your local and regional staff and let us know what you are doing. In addition to cover crop species adaptation, here are some further considerations for simplifying cover crop multi-species mixes: Fig. Fig. 1. This may be a shotgun approach in that the many species will ensure that some will grow well depending on the conditions. Resource for information about pecan-related insects, Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostics Laboratory, Texas A&M College of Agrculture and Life Sciences, Pests Associated with Trunk, Branches, Twigs. Cycling of cattle on and off the orchard varies compared to grass cover. There are no upcoming events at this time. If this might be the case in your situation, then move away from potentially susceptible dover species in case you need to spray. Avoiding pigweed going to seed is an important aspect of weed control, but to spray in this case for the pigweed would injure or eliminate most of the cover crop species. Me, as well as the farmers around here are literally dead in the water. Customer Review Price: Low to High Price: High to Low Select sub-category But these above five bullet points will not occur until first the soil surface receives a blanket (residue, whether from your cash crop like wheat, grain sorghum, and corn and/or a cover crop) likely coupled with a reduction in tillage. Corpus Christi:  Dr. Joshua McGinty, jmcginty@tamu.edu, 361.265.9203, College Station:  Dr. Clark Neely (cool-season), cbneely@tamu.edu, 979.862.1412; Dr. Ron Schnell (warm-season), ronschnell@tamu.edu, 979.845.2935; Dr. Jake Mowrer, jake.mowrer@tamu.edu, 979.845.5366, Vernon:  Dr. Paul DeLaune, pbdelaune@ag.tamu.edu, 940.552.9941, San Angelo:  Dr. Reagan Noland, Reagan.noland@ag.tamu.edu, 325.653.4576, Lubbock:  Dr. Katie Lewis, katie.lewis@ag.tamu.edu; Dr. Wayne Keeling, wkeeling@ag.tamu.edu; Dr. Calvin Trostle, ctrostle@ag.tamu.edu; all at 806.746.6101, Amarillo:  Dr. Jourdan Bell, jourdan.bell@ag.tamu.edu, 806.677.5600, Inquire of your regional AgriLife staff about cover crop research and education in your area. Standard planter unit with no specialized equipment planting into thin sorghum/sudan stubble, Lubbock Co., TX. The summer cover is terminated in July/early August and another cool-season forage crop can be planted in late August. Grazing is still possible but precautions must be taken to prevent bloating Nobody has a planting date. A high nitrogen producer, cowpea yields average 3000 to 4000 lb/acre of dry biomass containing 3 to 4% nitrogen. Fig. 5. Addressing these limitations is pivotal to promote cover crop adoption in the south Texas region. This may be hard to tell in some cases. Cover Crops for Spring, Summer, and Fall Reader Contribution By Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt, Wild Abundance | 5/31/2016 10:42:00 AM . Texas A&M Soil & Crop Sciences staff across the state are asked about cover crops on a regular basis. Covers can be used on row crops but are easiest to use on plants that are caged, such as tomatoes and peppers. AgriLife Extension's online Bookstore offers educational information and resources related to our many areas of expertise and programming; from agriculture, horticulture, and natural resources to nutrition, wellness for families and youth, and much more. Summer Cover Crop Species Adapted to North-Central West Texas and Southwestern Oklahoma. This doesn’t mean that tillage reduction can’t be done, but no-till/strip till/reduced till is not for everyone. Planting Rate: 13.4 lb/acre. Along with the cover crops (visible in this image: sorghum/sudan, mustard, buckwheat, rye; there were six more seeded) is maturing pigweed seed. Dryland cover crop mix planted in mid-August 2018, Mitchell Co., TX. But being a member of a data-based educational institution, we in AgriLife don’t have a lot of Texas data to share with producers—yet. There's only so much I can learn by book learning and I'm hoping to get some practical advice from people who keep horses as to whether it's true that all of these things are toxic, or if you have any other recommendation for cover crops that are safe for livestock to graze on? There is a wide range of planting dates. 2. Ironically, many cover crop advocates, likely from other areas, don’t view this terminated wheat system as a true cover crop (only one species, soil building not the purpose, etc.). If you simply would like to have some cover growing to potentially improve your soil, then biomass may not be a concern. An emerging consensus among farmers and AgriLife Extension in the Texas South Plains and other similar drier regions is initial focus on cover cropping is not immediately soil health (defined in several different ways). My observations and limited testing suggest that for winter biomass which leaves a higher amount of residues next spring, I like rye. I recommend you ask your seed provider. If so, that may eliminate the need to even consider planting some species if they likely won’t grow. 4. Ample rains have occurred since planting. SPRING COVER CROP MIX Our Spring/Summer Base Cover Crop mix is a blend of cowpeas/mungbeans, sorghum sudan, broadleaf forages and legumes to fill a dual purpose role of providing nutritional and economical grazing as well as being a soil builder. Avoiding pigweed going to seed is an important aspect of weed control, but to spray in this case for the pigweed would injure or eliminate most of the cover crop species However, these same practices also slow down the spring recovery of the warm-seasonal perennial grass. Several varieties well suited for Texas and the South during summer are: Cowpeas: Click for a hub of Extension resources related to the current COVID-19 situation. Can I achieve many of the benefits attributed to cover crops by instead by first focusing on reduction in tillage (no-till, strip till, reduced till)? A cover crop is a plant or group of plants that grow quickly and provie several benefits to your garden. 1. So, don’t spend the money on them. If so, significant biomass might be your greatest need. Potential successes have included changes in equipment for strip-till or on the planter to allow you to plant into heavier residues or hard ground. One idea I have—which colleagues agree might be a feasible approach to costs—is that cover crop seed costs should not exceed $1 per acre per each inch of average rainfall (+ irrigation, if used). Until data, practice, and experience demonstrates readily identifiable benefits to cover cropping, I recommend keeping cover crop seed costs down. 100% satisfaction guarantee. There is certainly a major amount of observational conclusions and opinions about cover cropping and its effectiveness, and you will read about these in popular farm press or hear about them at numerous presentations on cover crops. Cover Crop Conference Flyer (PDF). Farmer Henry Brockman describes why's and hows of Sorghum Sudangrass, his favorite summer cover crop. Providing habitat for natural enemies during the spring Cover Crop Conference Lubbock News (PDF). Maximum biomass is … Increased biological activity in the soil. Legumes by themselves can nicely diversify a cover crop mix. Consider this article as a guideline in your thinking on cover crops. Don’t let it seed! Our Spring/Summer Base Cover Crop mix is a blend of cowpeas, mungbeans, sorghum sudan, sudangrass, german millet and okra to fill a dual purpose role of providing nutritional and economical grazing as well as being a soil builder. Cover crop combination mix drilled mid-August 2018, Mitchell Co., TX. Texas A&M AgriLife would like to learn from your experience and observations with cover cropping. Early planted covers may include a blend of warm-season species to get substantial growth before a freeze (the sorghum/sudan in Fig. Sorghum/sudan + sudan at only 4.4% of a 20 lb. 1), then the species that are cold tolerant take over. COVER CROP OPTIONS. Our answers vary widely depending on where we are located and the farmer’s goals. Let the roots be what improves soil structure and increases stable long-term organic matter; and use the stubble to protect the soil surface from wind and water erosion. Establish and maintain the orchard floor 3. The best okra varieties to grow in Texas are Annie Oakley (Compact), Blondy (Compact), Burgundy, Cajun Delight, Clemson Spineless, Emerald, Lee, Louisiana Green, Stewart’s Zeebest (Heirloom) and Velvet. Sesbania stalks can reach 8-12 feet in height. In the Texas South Plains (general Lubbock region) we have over 1 million acres of cover cropping annually—the use of terminated rye or wheat to protect seedling cotton, mostly on irrigated (Fig. Later-planted cover crops will focus only on cold hardy species that can germinate, establish, and provide some growth over the winter. Cover crops play a large role in agriculture by suppressing weeds, building up soil productivity, nitrogen fixation, and controlling plant diseases. Sesbania is very valuable as a green manure or cover crop. If you want some biomass, you can get that for low cost using sorghum/sudan (~perhaps 5 lbs./acre) in the summer or rye/wheat in the winter (~10-20 lbs./acre). Do you need to curtail potential wind erosion? In this instance the disk openers are doing a good job of cutting the stubble as the furrow is opened for cotton planting. cover crops for north Texas ... Was going to do a pasture summer forage crop, but as you know, this whole country is a swamp. If you are planting early enough then fall growth may be sufficient for some warm season species, and a freeze will terminate them (and stop their moisture use, too), while other species take over through the winter. Am I doing what I can to preserve the stubble and residues I have from my current cropping to address some of the same goals as cover cropping? Writing from a Texas High Plains perspective, I replied: Desirable soil attributes that cover cropping can contribute to a cropping system include: All of these are desirable attributes, and you can improve many of them to some degree with reduction in tillage and better utilization of any remaining crop residues after harvest. Texas's famously warm climate means plenty of fruits and vegetables are, possibly, in-season more or less all the time. Tibbee Crimson, Bigbee Berseem, and Hairy Vetch have been used effectively in some areas but there are dozens of others to consider as well. 3. Covers can be of clear plastic or a translucent, fabric-like material known as row cover or spunweb. The benefits of peas and clover cover crops include adding nitrogen back into the soil. 4. Anchor the covers securely in the soil. While the title says it is about plants "Adapted to North-Central West Texas and Southwestern Oklahoma", the species listed are not limited to those areas. Most cover crops are planted in late summer, but there are some cover crop seed mixes that can go in the ground in the springtime and give you benefits by the end of the summer. 2. Wheat planted on bed shoulders for eventual seedling cotton protection, Terry Co., Texas. The benefits of peas and clover cover crops include adding nitrogen back into the soil. If you expect that weeds will become a problem in the field you are planting a cover crop mix in, will those weeds have time to go to seed (Fig. Spring vertical growth will be terminated with glyphosate then cotton planted on top of the bed in the middle of the two wheat rows. Some farmers are better at it than others. A variety of crops can be planted, grown, and harvested more than once per year in many areas of Texas, making them available more or less year-round. Organic options. Would you possibly need to spray them? Heavier stubble might require use of the trash whipper disks to clear a narrow band for planting. Many varieties are available and the best one (or mixtures) for your area depends on soil type and climate. Reducing competition for nutrients and water during summer months when the legume cover crop goes dormant, Disadvantages of a legume cover crop are: Otherwise, why pay for it. The following Soil & Crop Sciences/Texas A&M AgriLife staff are some of the individuals who are working with cover crop research and educational programs. The purpose is to control potential wind and blowing soil damage to fragile cotton seedlings. But for later planted cover crops species I would insist on ensuring each species is winter hardy. Best summer cover crops organic best summer cover crops organic cover crops in early summer 2018 best summer cover crops organic. 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