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

    Grain TV: Positive News for Soybeans10-21

    DTN Livestock Close: Cattle Futures Move Lower10-21

    Wheat Growers to Seek Inclusion in APH Yield Exclusion for 2015 – DTN10-21

    Doane Cotton Close: Positive Chinese Economy Boosts Prices10-21

    Dual Space Shop Offers Weather Protection, Equipment Storage – DTN10-21

    DTN Cotton Close: Snaps String of Five Lower Finishes10-21

    DTN Grain Close: Higher on Harvest Delay10-21

    USDA: Weekly National Peanut Prices10-21

    USDA to Implement APH Yield Exclusion for 2015 Spring Crops10-21

    DTN Livestock Midday: Light Pressure Redevelops in Hog Futures10-21

    Arkansas: USA Rice Outlook Conference Set Dec. 7-9 in Little Rock10-21

    AgFax Cotton Review: Australian Production on Rise; Mississippi Mill Faces Closure10-21

    DTN Grain Midday: Soybeans Lead Markets Higher10-21

    DTN Cotton Open: Near Unchanged in Tight Ranges10-21

    DTN Fertilizer Trends: High Costs May Alter Growers’ Tactics for 201510-21

    DTN Livestock Open: Cattle Futures to Start Mixed10-21

    DTN Grain Open: Soybeans, Wheat Start Higher10-21

    Keith Good: Tumbling Grain Prices May Prove Costly for Taxpayers10-21

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Wheat, Soybeans Down, Slight Gains in Corn10-20

    AFB Cotton Close: Selling Accelerates10-20

    AFB Rice Close: Reverses Off Positive Early Trade10-20

    Herbicide Resistant Weed Summit’s Slides, Webcast Available Online10-20

    Rice and Sugar: Thailand’s Quest for World Domination10-20

    AgFax Peanut Review: Portales Celebrates Peanuts Despite Plant Uncertainty10-20

    Livestock: WTO Rules Against U.S. in COOL Dispute — DTN10-20

    Wheat Scientists, Breeders Advocate Biotech Crop — DTN10-20

    Good on Grain: Storage Issues May be Less Severe Than Anticipated10-20

    Brazil Soybeans: Planting Falls Further Behind — DTN10-20

    Flint on Crops: Cover Crops Provide Many Benefits10-20

    New Holland Combine Sets Guinness Harvest Record10-18

    Rice Market: Sideways Movement Continues10-17

    Rice Crop: Delta Region Saw Harvest Delays with Storms10-17

    Rose on Cotton: Dec Contract Still Under Pressure10-17

    Cleveland on Cotton: Exports Lowest in ‘My Memory’10-17

    Brazil: Beef Production Steps Up Over Next 10 Years10-17

    Soybeans: Neonic Seed Treatment Little or No Benefit, says EPA – DTN10-17

    Informa Forecast: Soybean Acres Up 4.3M in 2015 – DTN10-17

    DTN Grain Close: Prices Down for the Day, Positive for the Week10-17

    Crop Margins Tighten, Living Expenses Not Far Behind10-17

    USDA: Peanut Price Highlights10-17

    Georgia: 6 Counties Declared Natural Disaster Areas10-17

    Livestock: WTO Ruling on Country of Origin Labeling Expected Soon — DTN10-17

    U.S. Energy: Narrowing Brent-WTI Spread Impacts Global Crude Markets10-17

    Gasoline Prices: Show 9-Cent Decline10-17

    Propane Stocks: Rise by 0.7M Barrels10-17

    Diesel Prices: Average Decreases 4 Cents10-17

    Georgia Blueberries: State Leads Nation in Production — 96M Pounds10-17

    Farm Bill Contingency Plans: How Optimistic are You? – DTN10-16

    Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Calhoun Retiring10-16

    Georgia: Waste Pesticide Disposal, Quitman, Oct. 3010-16

    Global Ag: Ebola Hits West Africa Hard – DTN10-16

    Grain Markets: Crop Prices Up After Bearish USDA Report10-16

    Brazil Soybeans: Dry Conditions Put Planting on Hold10-16

    U.S. Grain Transportation: Rail Backlog Grows, Secondary Bids Spike10-16

    U.S. Drought Outlook: Improvements for Southwest, Southern CA10-16

    Coarse Grain Outlook: Record Corn Yields Produce Record Crop10-16

    Rice Outlook: U.S. Production Projection Raised to 220.7M Cwt10-16

    Resistant Weeds: USDA Accelerates the Fight — DTN10-16

    Mississippi Soybeans: Poised to Shatter Record for Average Yield10-16

    Keith Good: Beige Book — Observations on Ag Economy10-16

    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