Project GROW: 2020 Season Update

Project GROW: 2020 Season Update

Wednesday, May 27, 2020
At the Project GROW demonstration fields in York, things are off to a great start for the new growing season. Both the north and south fields were planted to rye last fall. The north field will be harvested for rye seed in late June or early July and has been contracted to Green Cover Seed in Bladen, Nebraska. Immediately after the rye has been harvested, a cover crop will be planted using a no-till drill. The cover crop will be grazed by cattle starting some time in September for about 30 days. After the cattle are moved, an additional cover crop will be planted to protect the soil, feed soil biology, and produce soil carbon.

The south field will be “planted green,” as soybeans will be planted into the still-growing rye. This gives the soil the added benefit of extra carbon production from the rye for several more days prior to termination. 

Before the rye is terminated, samples will be taken to be sent to a lab to determine how much residual nitrogen from the previous corn crop was taken up by the cover crop and stored in the above ground biomass. Like the north field, a cover crop will be planted in the south field after the soybeans are harvested in the fall. “We haven’t yet determined the type of cover crops to be used on both fields in the fall,” says Dan Leininger, water conservationist. “We will plan a cover crop specific to the needs of the field once we determine what the cash crops will be in 2021.”

For more information, visit www.upperbigblue.org/projectgrow.