Friday, August 31, 2012

Georgia: Fall Cover Crops Can Boost Next Summer’s Harvest

AgFax.Com - Your Online Ag News Source


Cover crops may be your secret weapon to a better harvest next spring. Any gardener who was disappointed in their corn, tomato or squash harvests this summer might want to start preparing for next summer’s crop now by planting cover crops.

Cover crops have long been used by farmers to help boost the fertility of the soil, but they can be just as useful for boosting backyard harvests, said Julia Gaskin, sustainable agriculture coordinator for the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

 

At the University of Georgia’s organic teaching farm in Watkinsville, next spring’s planting beds are already covered with a mixture of cowpea, sorghum and buckwheat — plants that naturally put nutrients back into the soil, attract beneficial insects and block weeds from taking over the bed.

“It keeps the soil covered, feeds the soil and stops erosion,” Gaskin said. “They have as much biomass below ground as you see above, and the added organic matter affects the structure, biology and chemistry of the soil.”

Your local UGA Cooperative Extension agent can recommend the best mix of cover crops for your area and what you plan to grow next year. Crimson clover, Austrian winter peas, rye and oats are often recommended as winter cover crops for spring vegetable production.

Legumes like crimson clover, Austrian winter peas and vetch leave nitrogen in the soil that can be used by next spring’s crops. Cereal grains like rye and oats reduce weed populations, reduce erosion problems and add biomass to the soil.

The first step is to mow down the remnants of your summer garden. If there were diseased plants, be sure to remove and dispose of them first. Pull out the tomato cages and bean stakes and go to town, knocking everything down to the ground with a lawn mower or string trimmer.

The seeds of cover crops like Austrian winter peas and clover cost between $2 and $10 a pound and can be broadcast or manually seeded throughout the garden patch. Depending on the mix of cover crops you decide on, you will need between 1 and 3 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.

If you haven’t grown these legumes before, be sure to buy the correct inoculant to ensure the right beneficial bacteria are present to help the plant fix nitrogen from the atmosphere.

Next March, when you start to prepare for your spring garden, you will need to mow or use a string trimmer to knock the cover crop down. Many growers till the cover crop in a couple of weeks before planting their summer crops. This allows the cover crops to decompose and begin the release of stored nutrients. If you are transplanting vegetables like tomatoes, these can be planted directly into mowed cover crops on the surface after it has dried out. Gaskin said.

The soil will be reinvigorated and the residue from the knocked down cover crop will act as mulch for you planting bed, blocking some weeds and keeping water from evaporating from the soil.

Tags: , ,


Leave a Reply

Name and Email Address are required fields. Your email will not be published or shared with third parties.

Sunbelt Ag News

    DTN Livestock Close: Feeder Futures Knocked Hard for 2nd Session11-25

    Livestock: 6 Tips to Fight PEDv This Fall11-25

    Doane Cotton Close: Outside Strength Helps Prices Rebound11-25

    AgFax Cotton Review: New Stink Bug App; India Exports Drop11-25

    DTN Cotton Close: Higher on Light Volume11-25

    Tax Extenders Delays Bad for Economy, Says Senator – DTN11-25

    DTN Grain Close: Bean Complex Rallies, Grains Follow11-25

    USDA: Weekly National Peanut Prices11-25

    Georgia: 10 Farm Bill Meetings Scheduled for Mid Dec.11-25

    AgFax Rice Review: Iraq Resumes U.S. Purchases; Cambodia Wins Best Rice Award11-25

    DTN Livestock Midday: Cattle Futures Hold Sharp Losses11-25

    Winter Weather Creates More Problems for Railroads — DTN11-25

    Future of Cellulosic Biofuels in U.S. Questioned — DTN11-25

    DTN Grain Midday: Soybeans Lead Trade Higher11-25

    AgFax Peanut Review: Growers Urged to Plant Earlier; Texoma Sells Drying Facility11-25

    DTN Cotton Open: Futures Edge Slightly Higher11-25

    DTN Livestock Open: Cattle Paper to Bounce Higher11-25

    Shurley on Cotton: New Round of Weakness Sets In11-25

    DTN Grain Open: Markets Start Out Mixed11-25

    Keith Good: Farmers Care About a Labor Force, Not Politics — AFBF11-25

    Grain TV: Strong Demand Unable to Boost Soybeans11-24

    Welch on Wheat: Crop Condition Down Slightly11-24

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Corn Under Pressure Again11-24

    AFB Cotton Close: Trading at 5-Year Lows11-24

    AFB Rice Close: Futures Turn Lower11-24

    Welch on Grain: Snow Keeps 770M Bushels of Corn in Field11-24

    Farmland Partners Buys 7 South Carolina Farms for $28M11-24

    Livestock: Hog and Pork Prices Return to Reality11-24

    Corn: Breaking Down Stalks Takes Thought, Planning — DTN11-24

    DTN Fertilizer Outlook: Winter’s Arrival May Delay Some Buying11-24

    Brazil Soybeans: Dry Conditions Still Cause for Concern11-24

    Flint on Crops: Low Input Farming May be Necessary in 201511-24

    Midwest Corn And Soybean Yields – Our Readers’ Reports – AgFax11-22

    Rice Comment: The Case for Neonicotinoid Seed Treatment11-22

    U.S. Rice: Rain Stalls Texas 2nd Crop Harvest; Crop Sales Continue11-22

    Rice Market: Sale to Iraq Moves the Market11-22

    Rose on Cotton: Looking for the Positives This Week11-21

    Grain Drying: 6 Questions About Effects Of Sudden Drop In Temps11-21

    Is Your Lifestyle Costing You the Farm?11-21

    Farmers Storing Grain Need to Weigh Risk Management Factors – DTN11-21

    Peanut Harvest Updates From Southeast, Delta And Southwest – AgFax11-21

    Cleveland on Cotton: 57 Cents – ‘The Bottom is In’11-21

    Ag Labor: Immigration Order Provides Little Long-Term Benefit – DTN11-21

    USDA: Peanut Price Highlights11-21

    Oklahoma Pecans: Deliveries Remain Light11-21

    Georgia Pecans: Buying Interest Very Active11-21

    Ag Policy: Farm Bills Need Long-Term View11-21

    Cotton Market Weekly Review by Region11-21

    Arkansas Cattle: Ranchers Should be Alert to Acorn Poisoning11-21

    Economist: Livestock Industry Will Have Strong Rebound11-21

    DTN Dried Distillers Grain: Cheaper Feed Source for Beef Producers?11-21

    Mississippi Outdoors: Common Deer Parasites Do Not Affect Venison11-21

    AgFax Wildlife Review: New E-Book Offers Tips for Gardening in South11-21

    Weather Challenges Florida and Iowa Farms — DTN11-21

    Vilsack: Immigration Order Creates ‘Stability’ in Ag Work Force — DTN11-21

    Texas Cotton Harvest – Still Some To Go – AgFax11-20

    Mississippi: Water Conservation Summit, Stoneville, Dec. 1011-20

    Farm Internet Service Still Slow or Non-Existent, But Improving – DTN11-20

    Yield: Important Factor in Your Irrevocable Farm Program Choice11-20

    U.S. Grain Transportation: Weekly Inspections Reach Record11-20

    U.S. Drought Outlook: Improvements Expected for California, Southwest11-20

    U.S. Energy: Planned Refinery Maintenance Light in 201411-20

    Sunbelt Ag Events

     

    About Us

    AgFax.Com covers agricultural trends and production topics, with an emphasis on news about cotton, rice, peanuts, corn, soybeans, wheat and tree crops, including almonds, pecans, walnuts and pistachios.

      

    This site also serves as the on-line presence of electronic crop and pest reports published by AgFax Media LLC (formerly Looking South Communications).

        

    Click here to subscribe to our free reports.

      

    We provide early warnings and confirmations about pests, diseases and other factors that influence yield. Our goal is to quickly provide farmers and crop advisors with information needed to make better and more profitable decisions.

         

    Our free weekly crop and pest advisories include:

    • AgFax Midsouth Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri.

    • AgFax Southeast Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southwest Cotton (new for 2013!), covering cotton production and news in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico.

    • AgFax West (formerly MiteFax: SJV Cotton), covering California cotton, alfalfa, tomatoes and other non-permanent crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgFax Rice covering rice production and news in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

    • AgFax Peanuts, covering peanut production in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southern Grain: covering soybeans, corn, milo and small grains in Southern states.

    • AgFax Almonds, covering almonds, pistachios, walnuts and other tree crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgCom 101, providing guidance to ag professionals involved in social media.

    Our newsletters are sponsored by the following companies: FMC Corporation Chemtura Dow AgroSciences.

          

    Mission statement:

    Make it as easy as possible for our community of readers to find and/or receive needed information.

              

    Contact Information:

    AgFax Media. LLC

    142 Westlake Drive Brandon, MS 39047

    601-992-9488 Office 601-992-3503 Fax

    Owen Taylor Debra L. Ferguson Laurie Courtney

          

    Circulation Questions?

    Contact Laurie Courtney