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Converted Sprayer Great For Late Season Cover Crop
Bryan Biegler has experimented with different ways of planting cover crops for several years, including aerial application and spinner-spreaders. The 80-ft. high-clearance sprayer he fitted with a seeder is the best method he has found so far. It allowed him to plant his cover crop mix in fully-grown corn in 2015 and 2016. He had better crop emergence in 2016 when he planted earlier in the season – around August 18 – because the crop canopy was less dense. With more sunlight reaching the soil and timely rain, the cover crop got off to a good start.
    Planting earlier might be even better. The Lake Wilson, Minn., farmer has experimented with planting cover crops when the corn is waist high using a spinner/spreader. But the problem is timing. He is usually busy spraying crops then, and it takes a day or so to switch the sprayer over to seeding.
    Hagie sells a 60-ft. boom seeder, Biegler notes, but he needed an 80-ft. boom for his setup. He spent about $30,000 for his seeder, which includes a Gandy air seeder and pipes that fit on the sprayer boom. He can switch back and forth from sprayer to seeder by exchanging the solution tank with the air seeder.
    He has had good luck seeding all his blends including rye grasses, oats, rapeseed, turnips, radishes, etc., traveling about 12 mph using GPS just to enter into the right rows.
    With experience planting on his property and custom planting for other producers (3,500 acres altogether), he offers three pieces of advice.
    “I watch for upcoming rains after the August spraying is done,” he says, noting he tries to plant just before the rains.
    He has also noticed that fields with north/south rows had better emergence than east/west row fields.
    Finally, if your schedule allows it, Biegler says he thinks planting cover crops even earlier, right after tassel, would be beneficial.
    “So far I’ve been happy with the results of planting cover crops with reducing erosion and building soil health,” Biegler says.
    There has been no reduction in yields because of the cover crops, and he hopes to see some yield increases in the future through improved soil health.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bryan Biegler, 1373 State Hwy. 91, Lake Wilson, Minn. 56151 (ph 507 879-3567; bryan.biegler1@gmail.com).

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2017 - Volume #41, Issue #1