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Assessing the best method to establish a cover crop following barley

The Algoma Soil and Crop Improvement Association conducted an on-farm assessment of establishment methods for a cover crop to follow barley. Located near Desbarats, the field was split into different treatments. Both areas were seeded with a forage mixture: 70% timothy, 25% double cut red clover and 5% Alsike clover. The front of the field was broadcasted into the growing barley, and the back part of the field was underseeded at planting.  After the barley came off on September 3rd the field was observed to see which treatment established better.

Broadcasteduneven stand establishment

–          0% bare ground

–          40% clovers , (red and alsike)

–          30% grass

–          20% stubble

–          – 10% weeds

broadcasted cover crop

Underseeded – even stand establishment

–          0% bare ground

–          70% clovers

–          10% grass

–          20% stubble

–          0% weeds

underseeded cover crop

It was observed that underseeding was the better choice because the clover established much better  and shaded the weeds out. With underseeding, there did seem to be more clover than grass in the establishment. Stand establishment was inconsistent throughout the broadcasted area.  The clover was still the prominent component but there was a higher percentage of grass in broadcasting than in underseeding.

 

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