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No-till meets cover crops – Audio

No-till meets cover crops
Jason Cavadini, Agronomist
Marshfield Agricultural Research Station
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Phone (715) 687-4624, (715) 650-7451
2:56 – Total Time
0:21 – No-till and cover crops defined
0:58 – Second crop possible
1:30 – Decide how to use cover crop
1:59 – A season with cover crops
2:44 – Lead out


Sevie Kenyon: The partnership of no-till, cover crops and heavy soils. We’re visiting today with Jason Cavadini, University of Wisconsin-Madison Marshfield Agricultural Research Station in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon. Jason maybe we should define a few terms; tell us what no-till is and then tell us what cover crops are.

Jason Cavadini: Basically, no till planting is a method of planting in which we do no primary tillage we just come through the field and plant the crop with a planter that is capable of moving residue out of the way and placing the seed in one pass. Cover crops sort of have the same goals in mind, preserving the soil, adding to the soil, feeding the biological life in the soil and protecting it.

Sevie Kenyon: Jason, what are the bullet point benefits of this no-till cover crop system?

Jason Cavadini: If you have livestock you can either harvest the cover crop as forage or you can bring the livestock to the cover crop. But basically by harvesting the cover crop as a forage it gives us the opportunity to double crop in a northern climate. We’ve historically only thought of areas like Kansas as places where we can double crop, so to be able to do it in northcentral Wisconsin is a pretty big deal.

Sevie Kenyon: Jason what kind of decision making process does a farmer go through with one these systems?

Jason Cavadini: With our system here we determine what cover crop we’re going to plant based on what our end goal with the cover crop is. If it’s a cover crop that we’re going to try to harvest in the spring we’re going to plant something like triticale that we know has good over-wintering capabilities and good forage quality.

Sevie Kenyon: Jason can you take us through a season of no-till and cover crops?

Jason Cavadini: Many of the farms here are a foundation of their practice is corn silage so we’ll plant corn for corn silage in the spring. We’ll come through and harvest it probably sometime mid-September. As soon as we are finished harvesting in a particular field we may go in and apply manure, but soon thereafter we’ll come through with the drill and plant a cover crop on that ground. That crop is there to protect the soil over winter but also to just keep a living plant in the soil in a period of time where there’s generally nothing so we’re feeding the biological population in the soil and keeping it protected.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Jason Cavadini, Agronomist, University of Wisconsin-Madison Marshfield Agricultural Research Station in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon.