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

    Keith Good: Rail Service Problems Persist; Hog Prices Rebounding9-2

    Texas Cotton Industry Mourns The Death Of Economist Carl Anderson9-1

    Livestock: Market Lessons from 4-H County Fairs – DTN9-1

    China Cotton: Reserves’ Quantity, Quality Cause Problems – DTN9-1

    Welch on Wheat: Spring Wheat Harvest Running 22% Behind9-1

    Welch on Grain: Corn Condition Improves, Well Above Average9-1

    Flint on Crops: Rain Is Better Than Well Water9-1

    Rose on Cotton: Plenty of Gaps and No Rallies Expected8-29

    Peanut Harvest In N. Fla.; Drought Pushes Digging In Lower SE – AgFax8-29

    Rice Crop: Looking for a Normal Crop, Not a Bumper8-29

    Rice Market: Being Short Tricky but Being Long Takes Patience8-29

    Peanut Stocks and Processing: Utilization Up 2%, Stocks at 1.9B lbs8-29

    Cleveland on Cotton: Chinese Demand Pulling Prices Higher8-29

    DTN Livestock Close: Cattle Futures Sharply Higher on Positive Cash News8-29

    Doane Cotton Close: Futures Unable to Recover Losses8-29

    DTN Cotton Close: Late Rally Leaves Dec. Flat8-29

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Modest Losses Across the Board8-29

    AFB Cotton Close: Dec. Moves Fractionally Lower8-29

    AFB Rice Close: Futures Chart New Leg Down8-29

    Farm Bill: Cotton Transition Assistance Enrollment Now Open8-29

    Are USDA Corn Yield Forecasts Getting Better or Worse Over Time?8-29

    DTN Grain Close: Markets Settle Lower Ahead of 3 Day Weekend8-29

    USDA: Peanut Price Highlights8-29

    DTN Livestock Midday: Hog Futures Surge Higher8-29

    Farmers with Foreign Assets Face New IRS Rules and Serious Penalties8-29

    DTN Grain Midday: All 3 Markets Slide Lower8-29

    Mississippi Outdoors: Beaver Management Not a Simple Issue8-29

    Arkansas: Flood Damage to Crops Valued at $35.6M8-29

    Delta Soybean Yields Start Strong; Sugarcane Aphid Marches On – AgFax8-29

    California: Pinnacle Announces Acquisition of Kerman Ag Resources8-29

    DTN Cotton Open: Extends Prior-Session Loss8-29

    Midwest Farm Lenders Expect Solid Output; Lower Farm Income – Federal Reserve8-29

    Farm Payments to Stakeholders Rise as Gov. Payments Decline – USDA8-29

    Young Farmer in Your Future? – Helping Him or Her is Key to Success. – DTN8-29

    Net Farm Income Forecast to Fall,10.6% Decline Crop Value – USDA8-29

    DTN Livestock Open: Cattle Pits to Start with Mixed Prices8-29

    DTN Grain Open: Wheat Continues to Rally8-29

    Alabama: Pesticide Clean Days, Sept. 3-48-28

    Oklahoma: Fall Cotton Tour, Hydro, Sept. 118-28

    Rice Harvest Eases Into Gear In Midsouth – AgFax8-28

    Farm Drones Under Scrutiny: Farmers Impatient for FAA Ruling – DTN8-28

    USDA Readies Dairy Program, Producers Able to Sign Up Tuesday – DTN8-28

    U.S. Grain Transportation: Inspections Continue to Increase8-28

    Farm Program Decisions Hinge on Uncertain 2014 Crop Prices8-28

    Raindrops Keep Falling on Heads of Many Midwest Farmers — DTN8-28

    Economist: Big Potential in China for U.S. Corn, Livestock Exports8-28

    John Deere Lays Off 460 from Waterloo, Iowa Factory8-28

    U.S. Energy: Retail Gas Prices Follow Crude Prices Lower8-28

    Gasoline Prices: Decline by 2 Cents8-28

    Propane Stocks: Up to 74.7M Barrels8-28

    Diesel Prices: Average Drops a Penny8-28

    Sugarcane Aphid In Grain Sorghum: Florida, Georgia Find Infestations8-27

    Cotton – Midsouth – Bolls Opening, Early Defoliation Nears – AgFax8-27

    Midwest Corn and Soybeans Need Warm, Clear September – AgFax8-27

    Cotton – Southeast – More Open Bolls, Lingering Pests – AgFax8-27

    Farm Groups Map Waters to Block Clean Water Act Changes – DTN8-27

    Texas: 2 More Counties Make Natural Disaster List8-27

    Southwest May Face ‘Megadrought’ This Century, Say Scientists8-27

    China’s Citizenship Reform Should Benefit Farmers — DTN8-27

    What Can We Learn about Corn, Soybean Yields from Crop Tours?8-27

    Consider Sulfur for Your Fertility Plans This Fall — DTN8-27

    Rough Rice: Stocks Down 13 Percent from August 2013 — USDA8-27

    South Carolina: Peanut Field Day, Blackville, Sept. 48-27

    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