In the coming year(s), Penn State will be leading a regional, SARE-funded project to better understand the agronomic, environmental, and economic challenges that prevent the adoption of cover crop interseeding in field corn. Our team is comprised of Penn State and Cornell University researchers and extension educators, the New York State IPM program, and several cooperating Soil and Water Conservation Districts in PA and NY.
Interseeding cover crops early in the corn growing season (i.e., V4-V6) can potentially increase the benefits of cover cropping in growing regions that struggle to establish fall-sown cover crops. Previous studies and on-farm trials in our region have demonstrated the benefits of interseeding with specialized grain drills for improving establishment rates. Best management practices for early interseeding have also been developed for this region, including cover species selection and herbicide management.
However, there has been less documentation of conservation and soil health benefits associated with early interseeding compared to either winter fallow or post-harvest cover crop seeding. Understanding these benefits, and potential management tradeoffs, will help understand the return-on-investment of this practice. Finally, there is a general consensus that early cover crop interseeding works better in certain growing regions and production systems than others. Defining the geographic and agronomic fit for cover crop interseeding is one of our project objectives.
If you are interested in following our project, or participating in on-farm trials, please take a moment to complete this brief anonymous survey: Penn State Cover Crop Interseeding Survey. This information will help our project team prioritize on-farm trials and extension-outreach programming in the coming year(s).