Three simple ideas can help you chose practices that lead to success:

  1. Fast Start
  2. No Gaps
  3. Kill on Time
Fast start

The cover crop must emerge and grow faster than the weeds.

  • Warm soil, not borderline for the species
  • Enough moisture in the seed zone
  • Excellent seed-soil contact
  • As shallow as possible to meet requirements above

Legumes are slow; they need a fast nurse crop

No Gaps

Weeds will grow in even small gaps in the cover crop stand

  • All of the field can make a good seedbed
  • Use a drill or grass seeder to control distribution
  • If broadcasting, cover field twice at different angles
  • Meet Fast Start requirement in the whole field
Kill on time

Terminate when plants will kill completely

Early flowering is often best

In spring, just after green-up allows less tillage and faster soil warming

Terminate so before there is a risk of seed production

Chose an effective method for the species, growth stage and season.

  • Mow all growing points
  • Separate roots and shoots with shallow tillage
  • Herbicide while still susceptible
  • Winter kills sensitive tissues
    (bulbs and stems are sensitive, rosettes are hardy)
  • Roll crimp (only before soybeans).