Two crops in one year may sound tempting, and for some crop species is possible, but before doing so, producers should consider possible crops and compare the potential benefits with the drawbacks.
As a challenging 2019 row crop planting season wraps up in South Dakota, many producers are looking to plant cover crops on unplanted acres. One popular cool-season grass cover crop is oats. Most oats in South Dakota are grown as certified varieties, and it is important to be aware of the legal ramifications behind purchasing oat seed for use as a cover crop.
After oats have been harvested, options exist to keep a living root in the soil. This can be done through growing cover crops. In 2018 an on-farm trial was preformed near Salem, South Dakota to observe how cover crops grown after oats would germinate after common herbicides had been applied.
Producers across South Dakota are harvesting small grains. These crops provide an excellent window for adding a cover crop into your rotation.
Spring green-up is the time to be watching for black grass bug activity. Large populations of this early-season pest can cause severe damage to pasture (up to 90% forage reduction) and infest the edges of wheat fields.
Given the widespread wet conditions present this spring, there are many areas in winter wheat fields with both ponding and saturated (or waterlogged) soils. Producers may want to consider soil conditions and evaluate extended weather forecasts when deciding whether or not to retain a winter wheat this spring.
It’s time to begin scouting pasture and wheat for the presence of black grass bugs. Last year, we saw the highest populations in areas of Central and Southwestern South Dakota. If left untreated, black grass bug populations tend to increase year after year.
Crop insurance late plant dates are fast approaching for planting small grains in South Dakota. Late plant dates for corn, soybean, and sunflower are nearing as well. Producers will want to work with their crop insurance agent to explore planting options and reporting of prevent plant areas.
Recent USDA data shows that during the past 3 years acres devoted to wheat production continue declining in both South Dakota and North Dakota (USDA, 2018). South Dakota wheat acres experienced a remarkable decrease of 31.5% during the past 3 years, compared with a relatively mild drop of 16.4% by North Dakota.
Cover crops have been gaining a reemerging acceptance over the last decade, with very few producers disagreeing about the potential soil health benefits of adding cover crops to their farming operation.