2022 cover crop research limited by dry weather

Cover crop research at Ohio State University had varying results last year which researchers say highlights the need for perseverance.

Rachel Cochran is a Water Quality Extension Associate in northwest Ohio.

“We’re seeing a lot of impact from the soil health perspective, from the nutrient perspective on farms that have been using cover crops for multiple years,” she says.  “If a farmer gives up easily on the cover crops, then generally they won’t see that benefit.”

Last season, Cochran worked with a longtime no-till and cover crop farmer incorporating an extensive cover crop mix to evaluate how nitrogen rates could be reduced in corn.  Unfortunately, she says the crops did not respond as expected.

“But, there’s kind of nuances here with the weather patterns and other things because the same farmer, the same soil type, and the same project last year did have yield responses,” she says.  “

Ohio Farm Business Analysis Program manager Clint Schroeder tells Brownfield, just a county over, a trial with a three-species mix did find a yield benefit.

“We saw essentially a yield response to increased nitrogen pretty much all the way up comparable to fields that did not have cover crops,” he explains.

More details on their research can be found in OSU’s eFields report. 

Brownfield interviewed Cochran and Schroeder during this week’s Ohio Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference where they presented results.

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