In this, the first episode of Field Notes, we dive headlong into the practice of interseeding cover crops into standing corn, a practice becoming more popular in Wisconsin. To help us out, we talk with Anne Pfeiffer, program manager for UW-Madison’s on-farm research network, and Marty Weiss, a farmer in Dodge County and the vice-president of Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soils Healthy Waters farmer-led watershed group.
Michael Geissinger 0:01
Why should other farmers consider interseeding cover crops do you think?
Marty Weiss 0:05
It is a tool to help build soil health. And I don’t know, for me, it was just a way to add more diversification to your, your crop rotation. Let’s put it in simpler terms. If I would eat a casserole for six months, I get pretty sick of eating casserole and microbes like diversification too.
Michael Geissinger 0:26
Yeah, for sure.
Will Fulwider 0:28
I like that analogy.
Will Fulwider 0:31
Welcome to Field Notes. My name is Will Fulwider, and I’m joined by my co-host, Michael Geissinger, we are two regional crops educators with UW Madison Extension in Wisconsin, combining our skills, knowledge and experience to help farmers and agronomists develop research based solutions to issues facing agriculture in Wisconsin.
Michael, how are you today?
Michael Geissinger 1:02
I’m doing well, Will. How are you doing?
Will Fulwider 1:04
Oh, just, just great.
Michael Geissinger 1:06
I’m super glad that we were able to connect and finally make this first episode of Field Notes happen. I’m very excited for this episode, because we’re talking about soil conservation, which is one of my main interests. And more specifically, we’re going to talk about interseeding cover crops into corn while it’s growing. So, to kind of give us some of the different perspectives, we have a statewide perspective, so we’re joined by Anne Pfeiffer. Anne is currently the on-farm research program manager for UW-Madison and has been working for a couple of years on a project with interseeding and researching that across farms in Wisconsin. And then, to give us the farmer perspective, we’ll be talking to Marty Weiss, who is the vice president of the Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil Healthy Waters farmer led watershed council group. So, he has been interseeding on his own farm and doing custom interseeding as well for several years. Pretty excited for today’s show. And I just want to start by welcoming Anne, so thank you, Anne, for joining us. How are you doing today?
Anne Pfeiffer 2:17
I’m doing well. Thanks for inviting me to join you.
Michael Geissinger 2:20
Yeah, so as we just kind of jump into things here a little bit and do a deep dive into the interseeding world. How would you describe, kind of, what this interseeding is?
Anne Pfeiffer 2:30
Sure. Just real simply, I would describe interseeding as the practice of planting a cover crop between rows of a cash crop, when the cover crop is planted while the cash crop is still growing, rather than after harvest, as we might more typically have done.
Michael Geissinger 2:46
Yeah. So, in a typical cover crop system, then, you’re usually planting after the crops have been taken off. And then in this interseeding system, you’re talking about planning it while the crop is still growing, so…
Anne Pfeiffer 2:59
Michael Geissinger 3:00
So, Anne, why should farmers consider interseeding cover crops and kind of following this practice of getting those cover crops in while the corn crop is still growing?
Anne Pfeiffer 3:10
So, in Wisconsin and the upper Midwest, we’ve started looking at interseeding because of the limitations of our seasons. So typically, because we have a relatively short summer and winter comes early, we’ve often been limited to planting winter rye as a cover crop after we harvest our corn or beans in the fall. And there’s a lot of benefits to planting rye as a cover crop. But it doesn’t leave us too much room for species diversity or seeing some of the benefits that we might get from a wider range of cover crop species. So, rather than waiting until after the fall harvest to plant cover crops, we’re looking at interseeding earlier in the season while the cash crop is still growing. This lets us take advantage of the summer warmth and light to get cover crop growth in that prime season. And then interseeding earlier in the season allows us to grow a wider range of species. So, we get to take advantage of lots of different action in the soil, rather than the limitations that you know that we get from rye.
Will Fulwider 4:09
So, Anne, have you found that there’s a specific stage of corn growth that works best for interseeding? Or, how does kind of planting earlier affect it or planting later?
Anne Pfeiffer 4:18
Sure. So, there’s been a fair amount of research about interseeding, primarily on the East Coast. And what we’re seeing coming out of that work is saying planting, interseeding into corn around V5 is the recommendation. However, in the Midwest, we’re finding that that really isn’t working well for us. And we think it’s because we’re seeing too much corn canopy closure at that point and there just isn’t enough sunlight at the ground for the cover crop to germinate well and put on any biomass. So, we’ve been looking at earlier interseeding, closer to V3. And at that point, we’re really seeing better cover crop germination and establishment so that that cover crop can actually grow, put on some biomass before corn canopy closure. And then, once we do have that canopy closure and it’s darker down at the soil surface, the cover crop just kind of hangs on for the season, and then is ready to come back once we take the corn off in the late summer or fall. So, V3 is kind of what we’re playing with right now on the recommendation of some farmers who’ve been playing with this.
Will Fulwider 5:19
Have you found that interseeding that early has any effect on the yield of the corn?
Anne Pfeiffer 5:24
That’s something that we’re collecting information on right now. We, over the past two years, we’ve been working with a group of about 20 farms who are doing research plots on their own farms. And we’re seeing, you know, a little bit of ups and downs. So, some farms are seeing a little bit of a yield hit, some are actually seeing higher yields in their interseeded plots. And we’re still trying to tease out exactly what’s happening there. Overall, we’ve been happy to see that it’s not a dramatic change, which leads us to be hopeful that with some tweaks in the systems, we can get to a place that farmers will be able to implement this practice in an overall beneficial manner. And you know, there’s always that trade off of you know, maybe there is a little bit of a yield hit. But, if we’re seeing enough soil health benefits, or if you’re able to use that interseeding as a forage or to graze later, then maybe you can figure out a way that that really is an overall financial benefit, as well as a soil health systems benefit for you.
Michael Geissinger 6:22
Yeah, and Ann, you had mentioned a little bit in your comments there that interseeding offers kind of this opportunity to plant more of a mixed species. So, often in Wisconsin, we’re doing the cereal rye, just a single species cover crop. What are some of the characteristics you consider when you’re looking at the different types of species to plant into an interseeding mix?
Anne Pfeiffer 6:45
Sure, well, as with any cover crop, a good place to start is always thinking about your goals. So, whether you’re looking for nitrogen fixation or if you want to catch your excess N that’s maybe already in the soil from spring fertilization, do you want quick growth for weed control and soil cover. So, different species are going to offer you different benefits and interseeding allows you to have the option to mix species so you can potentially get a little bit of all of those. Some farms are also looking at interseeding as sort of a double cropping hoping to harvest the covers for feed or graze the fields after harvest. So in those cases, you would want to think about the feed quality of potential species. Whenever I’m talking about cover crops, I always like to point out and encourage people to think about how they’re going to terminate their cover crop before they ever plant it. That’s a way that people new to cover crops can really get into some trouble. So, before the seed ever grows in the ground, think about, you know, are you looking for something that’s going to winter kill so that you don’t need specialized equipment or chemicals to deal with it? Or, do you want something that comes back in the spring and will overwinter? So, thinking about how that timing fits into your cropping system, and what kind of tools whether it’s physical, you know, cultivation tillage tools or chemicals that you’re going to use for burndown, making sure you have a plan and probably a Plan B, and C, if the rain and timing of your first plan doesn’t work out. In choosing species, I have two, two resources that I really love to recommend. The first is the Midwest Cover Crop Council, they have a great website that has some really nice interactive menus, people can, you know, put in some information about their farm, their soil health goals, or their cover crop goals, timing of the season, and it’ll give some recommendations. So that’s a great starting point for people who are starting to play in that. And then there’s a book called Managing Cover Crops Profitably published by SARE the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program within USDA. And that’s just a fabulous book. It’s available free online as a PDF or people who want a hard copy, it’s available for essentially the cost of printing. It’s like 20 bucks. So, those are two things that I refer to myself a lot.
Will Fulwider 9:04
Those are some good resources, for sure. Curious if there’s those resources or anything, in your, in your projects that you’ve done over the last couple years with farmers that you found to stay away from, which cover crops that maybe you shouldn’t be interseeding in that you might do after corn?
Anne Pfeiffer 9:21
Um, no, I don’t think I have any particular species that I would really say are absolutely not an option. I think it’s really just about what works on an individual farm and what your goals and resources are to deal with that.
Will Fulwider 9:37
And, across kind of the farms that you’ve worked with, you know, how have people found success, or what have been kind of the indicators that this works with their farming system versus doesn’t or the challenges that present themselves as well?
Anne Pfeiffer 9:50
Sure. So, you know, we’re always looking at yield, right? We want to create a system that isn’t going to be overly financially burdensome to folks So, in the work that we’ve done, we’ve been collecting yield information as well as some soil health metrics. And this soil health stuff is a little bit messier to go through, because we expect to see soil health changes over the long term. So, looking at something in a one or two year project, we wouldn’t expect to see major soil health changes. But, I’ve been happy to see that we haven’t seen major dips in yields. And that, you know, a lot of it anecdotally is farmers telling us that they’re still interested and they think it’s a promising system. So, at this point, I feel like we’re early-ish in the process of figuring this out. And we’re really relying on farmers to tell us what they’re seeing in their fields and what they find to be beneficial. So, stay tuned. I hope that we’ll have some more solid information to share in the relatively near future. But for now, I’m happy to say that it’s something that our collaborators are saying is of promise.
Michael Geissinger 11:02
Yeah, and I, I really appreciate this critical concept you’re getting at Anne, which I think people tend to forget. That planting cover crops is kind of this cure all. And you just throw it out there, and it kind of grows and everything works out in the end. But, in reality, these crops need management in the same way that any of our other crops need management. And you had touched on, especially considering things like termination, which is crucial to consider before you start jumping in. And maybe I would just even add to that is, you know, if this is something you’re looking to start, just start small. You don’t need to start with the whole farm and have this bad experience and all of these negative ramifications. So, maybe you have a 200 acre farm, maybe start with 10 or 15 acres and give it a shot that way. You had talked about some of the different management perspectives. I was curious, too, because I’ve kind of heard from, from certain people that, you know, sometimes you throw that seed out there, and then, it just kind of sits there or you don’t get rain right away. So, could you maybe speak into that a little bit, you know, how necessary is it to get that precipitation, after you interseed, to ensure the success of the interseeded cover crop?
Anne Pfeiffer 12:15
Yeah, so I think the precipitation really depends a lot on what kind of equipment you’re using. If you are able to get good seed to soil contact and get that seed a little bit buried, we have found that you can be successful, with really not a lot of soil moisture. Last year, in 2021, we had extremely dry conditions across most of the state and really saw surprisingly good stands all over the place, you know, with very dry on the surface. But, if you dug down, there was some moisture in the soil, you know, half an inch, an inch deep, and it worked. We were a little bit nervous about starting interseeding during a statewide drought. But we’re pleasantly surprised by how well it did. I will say if you’re broadcasting and have less robust seed to soil contact and your seeds are closer to the surface, then I would definitely recommend that folks are working harder to hopefully time that with some precipitation in the forecast. So, you know, we got lucky a few times with broadcasting seed, and then, you know, even just like a 10 minute little storm passed through and provided us enough to get it off the ground. So, it doesn’t need to be a lot, but definitely need a little bit of water coming through if you’re broadcasting.
Michael Geissinger 13:31
You had just hinted a little bit, you know, it kind of depends on the equipment you’re using these systems. So, I might just kind of open up the question now and say, what kind of equipment you know, should you maybe have or have access to, to successfully interseed?
Anne Pfeiffer 13:47
Yeah, so I think people have success with a really wide range of equipment, everything from a broadcast spinner mounted on the back of an ATV to really highly specialized interseeding rigs. And you know, people have had success with all of it. So I think you need to think about what you have and what considerations you need to make in doing that. So obviously, if you’re broadcasting off an ATV, you need to be a little bit more attuned to what your soil conditions are and what your moisture is than if you have an interseeder that’s going to get that really perfectly buried seed. But it’s not impossible with any of it. And I think it really speaks to your comment about starting small that I would love to see people give this a try on a little bit of land and with really basic equipment. You know, if you’ve got a friend or a neighbor that you can borrow something from, awesome, but I don’t want people to feel like they have to invest in premium equipment before they give it a try because I think it’s possible to do with stuff that is maybe more easily available. In between a broadcast spreader and an interseeder, there are definitely a ton of people using modified drills. So that’s a great option that is, I think, more widely available to a lot of people as well.
Will Fulwider 15:04
Speaking of modified drills, there are actually some resources on UW Extension’s website that look into how can you modify some no till grain drills to be able to interseed on your corn land. So those are worth checking out for sure. I remember, a couple of weeks ago, I was walking out into one of the farmer’s fields with whom I’m working on your interseeding project, actually. And it was interesting chatting with him on the phone as I was walking his field, because I told us that it was the emergence wasn’t super great. Stuff, or I mean, stuff was coming up, but it definitely was not quite as thick. And he was like, yeah, it’s not as good as last year. And he used his new interseeder, or, you know, specifically for this purpose. And he’s like, yeah, I just didn’t, didn’t get the depth grade enough, I didn’t get the grade seed to soil contact. And even some of it, he got some rain just beforehand. But, it was, he was saying that last year, when he didn’t even use that he did it, he did it better than this year when he did use this specialized interseeder, because it’s just about fine tuning that seed to soil contact, getting the right depth. So those seeds can access the moisture that’s locked in the soil.
Anne Pfeiffer 16:10
Yeah, and that’s, I mean, another good story, in support of starting small, right? Experiment, figure it out. Even when you’ve got the perfect equipment, there’s a learning curve for all of us in it.
Will Fulwider 16:24
And, so, when folks are interseeding, you know, have you found across, in your project across the state, that there’s collections of people in specific geographies, and, you know, speaking of geography, where can interseeding have the most impact?
Anne Pfeiffer 16:42
We’ve got folks working on this, you know, up in the northwest part of the state, lots of folks looking at it in the northeast, particularly a lot of dairy farms in that region who are looking at alternative forage production, integrated with an interseeding system. And certainly plenty of folks in the southern tier. So, you know, I don’t think it’s limited geography, it will change maybe exactly how you do it, and what species you choose, or, you know, what your timing looks like. But I, I don’t think this is off limits to anybody. And I think that some of the folks in the northern parts of the state who maybe have even shorter seasons, and those in the south, um, could really benefit from squishing the seasons together, because there’s even less capacity there to do fall cover crop planting after harvest.
Will Fulwider 17:34
That makes sense. So, Anne have you found that single species or mixed species established slash work better? In these systems?
Anne Pfeiffer 17:45
We have only been doing work with mixed species as part of this project. There’s certainly a lot of other research out there at UW and elsewhere, looking at single species cover crops. We have two reasons that we’re looking at a mix. One is that the mix adds more diversity to the system. So, it allows us to have all those different functional groups of a cover crop system in one go. So, we’re seeing legumes for nitrogen fixation, we’re seeing grasses for excess nutrient capture and quick growth, we’re seeing some brassicas and other mixed species for just more diversity in the system. So, the second reason is that a mix can really be helpful in responding to the unique conditions of a particular growing season. So, it’s a way to not put all of our eggs in one basket. And, depending upon heat and moisture conditions, different species or types of species might do better or worse. So, if we end up with a really hot, dry year, or a cool, wet year, or what have you, we might see different things be more successful and a mix. Essentially it’s an insurance policy, because we can’t know at the beginning of the season exactly what to expect.
Michael Geissinger 18:53
I think that pretty much kind of sums up what we were hoping to talk with you today about, Anne, and we appreciate your time for jumping on the this first episode here of Field Notes. And, yeah, I really appreciate that. So…
Anne Pfeiffer 19:08
Great! Thanks for having me, it was fun.
Will Fulwider 19:10
Thanks to Anne for her statewide perspective. After the break, we will be talking with Marty Weiss, who farms corn, soybeans and wheat as well as custom grazes heifers on 230 acres in Dodge County.
Alrighty, I would like to welcome Marty Weiss. How are you doing today?
Marty Weiss 19:45
I’m doing great. Thanks for inviting me.
Will Fulwider 19:47
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, and so what got you started interseeding. Why did you start doing it?
Marty Weiss 19:55
An interest in improving soil health, basically, and, you know, by that I mean like soil armor, more plants to collect sunlight, which is result of more photosynthesis, which improves soil health in collecting carbon in the soil.
Will Fulwider 20:12
I know we were talking with Anne and she had mentioned that one of the reasons that folks interseed is to be able to establish those cover crops earlier get more growth out of them, because it’s a little bit too late at the end of the season after corn. So for that, that wasn’t quite the reason why you started to do it, was it?
Marty Weiss 20:28
Yeah, it was, it was one of the goals, but I have yet to make any interseeded crops make it through the winter. That’s usually, well, I did, I can’t say I haven’t had luck, because I’ve had some clovers make it and some rape, but what I wanted to make is the annual ryegrass but it never seems to make it. Well, it’s not designed to make it but now we thought we could eliminate the cereal rye after corn, but I still plant cereal rye after corn.
Michael Geissinger 20:56
Yeah. And you’re you’ve kind of mentioned some of the benefits in your system of, you know, having some success with this interseeding and the different advantages it offers for soil health, and you’ve been able to kind of effectively start implementing it more and more. And, so, I guess my question is, why should other farmers consider interseeding cover crops do you think?
Marty Weiss 21:22
It is a tool to help build soil health. And I don’t know, for me, it was just a way to add more diversification to your, your crop rotation. Let’s put it in simpler terms. If I would eat a casserole for six months, I get pretty sick of eating casserole and microbes like diversification too. Yeah.
Michael Geissinger 21:47
Yeah, for sure.
Will Fulwider 21:48
I like that analogy. So, what are some of the challenges that you’ve faced in interseeding cover crops?
Marty Weiss 21:54
Biggest challenge is dryness come August, end of August. I’ve only had, I’ve been planting since 2017, being my 6th, 5th year right now, of the three. of that maybe three years, covers have survived till harvest, through harvest through. a couple of years because of dryness in August, yeah, they, they don’t quite make it. They go lethargic, which is expected, but once a corn soy is drying down, you expect them to come back. But because of dryness, they just can’t survive.
Michael Geissinger 22:30
What are some of the things that you kind of have found to work and not found to work? So that’s kind of a big question. And we’re gonna unpack it with a with a few different topics. But I might just kick it off, you know, when, when you’re getting this stuff established, at what stage of the corn do you typically try to interseed?
Marty Weiss 22:47
I try to get everything going by V3, or late V2, but be done by V4, I want that plant or those plants to develop a solid root system and some growth to survive, you know, when the when the corn start shading it in so much. Around here, our corn can typically get 12 to 14 foot tall, and that can really shade out those covers. And then also, when I do interseed, I that corn plant, I look for upright leaf structure of the corn and then plant a full and a semi flex ear. That seems to be more tolerant to using a low populations. Population of corn works, 32,000 works the best. But you’re giving up a little yield. So I plant usually around 34-5 to 35,000 plants per acre.
Michael Geissinger 23:41
And, are you, and you might have mentioned this already, but are you maintaining the 30 inch row spacing with interseeding?
Marty Weiss 23:49
Yes, I tried the 60. I figured I could graze it afterwards. I just never had enough growth. And maybe it’s because of the mixes of covers I’d been using, but it just never was worthwhile to me to pursue it. I gave up bushels of corn when I went to the 60 inch corn. Other guys have had luck to it, I just didn’t. And in fact, we had a three-year trial here, a plot, it was designed by a UW Extension agent. And between her and I, we developed like a protocol of 32, 34, and 36000 plants per acre of corn and then different species. And then what we did is no covers and covers in four replicated areas. And of the all three of those years I averaged seven eight bushel advantage. I have yet to have a handicap when it comes to interseeding.
Will Fulwider 24:54
Sounds like some pretty solid success there. You mentioned, kind of the different species that you’re planting a little better, you know that that is determinant. Do you find that there’s a specific mix that you’ve kind of settled on that works well for you?
Marty Weiss 25:07
I started out with annual ryegrass, red clover, and rape. I have since gone a little, I use those three, but I’ve added vetch and I’ve added flax and buckwheat. And I also use some kale, just to cut down on the rape and give a little diversification out of the brassica. I don’t use a pound like I did at one time. Now I’m going to a quarter pound of each. But I like to flax and buckwheat because it’s a flowering plant. And I’m trying to encourage beneficial pollinators.
Michael Geissinger 25:43
In addition to the pollination factors you’re looking at there, is there anything else in particular that you might look for in the different characteristics of the various species you’re planting?
Marty Weiss 25:55
Shade tolerant, it must be shade must be shade tolerant. And the university has some good data on that. Penn State has good data on that, what species are shade tolerant. And some of those for me it was trial and error. I tried different things, but these are the ones I kind of fix on now.
Will Fulwider 26:12
And so, when you’re interseeding, what you talked, you mentioned a little bit about broadcasting and some of the equipment that you’re using, but, in the past, what did you use and is it the same thing that you’re using now?
Marty Weiss 26:24
Okay, I always use the no till drill. I bought a drill. I modified it, taking out eight rows. I have a 20 foot drill so I took out eight rows and I seed with three rows in between the corn rows. We have a friend that does use a broadcast seeder in front of his tractor with a rotary hoe or a cultivator behind it to help incorporate seed, he lightly cultivates, so that, he’s had success doing that. Broadcasting, I don’t, I don’t know if it works. I’ve had it where I flew it on with a plane when the corn was half dried down, if had 50% dry down of the of the leaves. It didn’t for me it did not work, one year it was dry, the other year was we thought slugs or earthworms got after the seed. So, if I won’t do it again, it’s a waste of money.
Will Fulwider 27:23
That really sounds like it’s dependent on kind of the touch and go weather of late summer, whether it’s going to rain if it works or not.
Marty Weiss 27:30
Yeah, pretty much. Pretty much yeah, even more generally, interseeding, you know, if you do broadcast seed and get an inch rain afterwards, in especially into V3-V4, that’d be great because then you’re seeds are getting going. For me, if I if I see a rain coming, a good rain shower coming, you know a day or two I kind of watch the weather when it’s time to interseed. I will start interseeding at late V2. There has been data done at if you go at V2 or earlier, you’re going to harm your yield. So I’ve never gone at V2, I’m a little reluctant to even try it. You know, maybe it’s something I should try as a trial. But I’ve had good luck at doing V3. Mainly because the headland rows, you run over a lot of corn and at V3, a lot of corn will come back, you don’t break them off. After V4 you know you’re getting to V5 you’re breaking stalks off and that’s not gonna come back.
Will Fulwider 28:23
Right. And so to sum up kind of your, you’ve got this little bit of flexibility between kind of late V2 through V4 is really when you when you want to hit it and you really want to get it right before a good rain is kind of what you’re looking for.
Marty Weiss 28:39
That’d be ideal. You don’t always hit it but that’s the way it is. I like to be interseeding 30 days after I planted my corn. It’s kind of a rule of thumb I go by, that’s typically when you’ll get to the V3 corn stage.
Will Fulwider 28:52
Gotcha, and how’d it go this year, with the interseeding?
Marty Weiss 28:56
Interseeding, for me, went great, except where I after the wheat, or you know, after a corn. Soybean rotation, interseeding works great. There is no difficulty, but now I got a wheat program where I put them a multi-species mix after the wheat, so there’s quite a bit of residue there the following June yet. I’m still trying to work the kinks out of that system. It doesn’t have the establishment I like to see. It might be because of the heavy residue, but we’re still working on that. I’m not willing to give up yet.
Michael Geissinger 29:27
Yeah, don’t give up yet. So, you kind of hear a little bit about how the residue and cover crops that you’re interseeding kind of, you know, have this sort of relationship that affects the, the success of the other. What other kinds of challenges might you have with things like weed management with interseeding?
Marty Weiss 29:47
Yeah, okay. That’s a good point. It, residuals I use. You have, there’s only a few chemical families you can use for spring to have somewhat residual to bring you up to that time of interseeding. What I do is this year or last two, maybe last two years now, I use Verdict at eight ounces to the acre. I’ve had good luck with it. The years before that I went with Basis Blend. Next year, I will probably go back to Basis but just to keep changing the chemistry back and forth. And that gets me to the interseeding time trial. And if there’s any broadleaves coming up at that time, I usually, I usually spray glyphosate just before interseeding, the day before. Now when I speak about roots getting developed, I meant that in the context of the cover crop itself, you want to get them roots growing and get some strength to them before they get shaded out. Not so much the corn, the corn I don’t kind of worry about at that point. It’s there, it’s gonna grow.
Michael Geissinger 30:47
Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, I think it’s a great point, you’re bringing up with the kind of you need to consider these residuals and things like that, that could have an effect on things and you’re in-season weed management looks a little different than it may be typically would. Would you say that that is an obstacle for a lot of people to adopting interseeding, or do you think it’s a, you know, pretty easy obstacle to get over and workaround in your experience?
Marty Weiss 31:14
Ah, I guess that depends on what they’re willing to take on as far as management. It is another management thing you have to think about. If they don’t have a no till drill, or you know, most people have still have their rotary hoes and they can just mount a spinner spreader on front of the tractor if they’d like and work at that way. But yeah, it’s another thing to go over the cornfield with, and, you know, the big guys or the guys that get a lot of acres, they probably aren’t going to deal with this. The biggest interseeder I’ve seen, I’ve seen, it was a 24 row, and that’s up in Fond du Lac County. He’s had luck and he’s doing it yet. I only have an eighth row, and I put my nitrogen on when I put the, when I go interseed, I apply nitrogen, cut a trip off the field. Yes, a little early for nitrogen. But you put a stabilizer in, it’ll be fine.
Will Fulwider 32:07
Saves you a pass.
Marty Weiss 32:08
Yes. Yes. There’s a lot less expense when it comes to chemical too. Because you’re trying to get that interseeding established that keeps the weeds down too once it gets to be V4, V5. This interseeding, once you got it planted, seven days later, it’s coming up.
Will Fulwider 32:23
Yeah. If you did everything right, if you got the rain, and you got it. You know. the seed to soil contact down.
Marty Weiss 32:30
Well, that’s where no till drill helps, to try to get it into moisture.
Will Fulwider 32:34
Marty Weiss 32:35
And that’s kind of why I plant 30 days after planting corn. Because you got the cooler weather and the soil are moist at that time. Yeah.
Will Fulwider 32:44
Right. Yeah. Well, great. I mean, this has been a great conversation. Is there anything else? We, we’re out of questions for you? Is there anything else you want to add here? Marty?
Marty Weiss 32:54
No, to me, it was a great tool to get soil health started. Just besides using cereal rye in the fall. And it has helped me tremendously. I went from doing strip tilling to no till now. So that’s my third year into no till, and that is a process I’m still trying to learn on, but it’s the learning curve.
Will Fulwider 33:14
We’re all still learning Marty, all of us, for sure.
Marty Weiss 33:17
I guess we stop learning, we might as well quit farming or doing what doing.
Will Fulwider 33:21
Well, great. Thanks so much for coming on.
Marty Weiss 33:23
No problem. Thank you!
Will Fulwider 33:25
Thanks for listening. This has been Field Notes from UW Madison Extension. My name is Will Fulwider, regional crops educator for Dane and Dodge counties, and I was joined by my co host Michael Geissinger, crops educator for St. Croix, Barron, Polk, and Pierce Counties. A big thank you to Joe Ryan for creating our theme music and to Abby Wilkymaky for our logo. If you have any questions about anything you’ve heard today, or about your farming practices in general, reach out to the extension agriculture educators serving your region.