2005 - Volume #29, Issue #2, Page #32[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Beans, Clover Double-Cropped Into WheatDouble-cropping soybeans after wheat isn't a new idea. But Russell Myers takes that idea one step farther - he inter-plants not only soybeans into wheat, but also clover.
"It has several advantages," says Myers, of Battle Creek, Mich. "If beans mature before the first killing frost, I can harvest them as a cash crop. If they don't mature, I can still harvest a hay crop that has both clover and soybeans in it. Either way, I get additional income. And, because both soybeans and clover are legumes, they provide æfree' nitrogen for corn grown the following year."
The process begins in the spring when Myers mixes clover seed with urea, which is then broadcast onto the growing wheat crop. As soon as the wheat is harvested, he uses a no-till drill to plant soybeans into the wheat stubble and clover. The beans then grow up through the clover.
"It's a low-cost, almost foolproof way to add income and reduce soil erosion at the same time," says Myers. "If the beans mature, I can usually count on a net income of $60 to $90 per acre. But if by mid-September it looks like the beans aren't going to mature, I harvest the soybean and clover combination as a high quality, protein-rich forage crop that can be fed to livestock."
Another advantage, says Myers, is that the clover acts as a natural weed control, so he doesn't have to spend money on soybean herbicides. As a result, he can use less expensive non-Roundup Ready seed varieties, which lowers his input costs.
Myers also figures he saves $15 to $20 per acre in nitrogen input costs on corn grown the following year, because of the extra nitrogen provided by the combination of soybeans and clover.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Russell C. Myers, 9577 B Drive North, Battle Creek, Mich. 49014 (ph 269 979-3780).
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