Many farmers are now hitting the field with cover crop seeders mounted to their vertical tillage implements. Here are just a few of the agronomic and economic benefits to incorporating cover crops with vertical tillage:
1. Manage residue and plant cover crops – at the same time.
Seeding cover crops with a vertical tillage tool allows you to manage residue and plant cover crops in one pass. Fewer passes means reduced input costs and greater efficiency for your operation.
2. Prevent compaction.
Fewer passes also means less soil compaction. Compaction layers in soil limit water infiltration, aeration, and the growth of cash crop roots. Both cover crops and vertical tillage help alleviate compaction issues to enhance soil health.
3. Increase your establishment window.
Broadcasting with vertical tillage means cover crops are in the ground sooner, allowing more time to establish a better stand.
4. Achieve uniform emergence.
Vertical tillage is intended to create the perfect seedbed by cutting residue and fluffing the soil to increase seed-to-soil contact. This aids in the establishment of cover crops and leads to more uniform emergence. Lightly incorporating cover crop seed with vertical tillage also reduces the impact of weather conditions.
5. Avoid erosion.
Vertical tillage chops and sizes residue, leaving it on the surface to reduce soil erosion. Cover crops help anchor surface residue from wind and water, to further reduce erosion.
6. Improve productivity.
Planting cover crops with a vertical tillage implement offers wider application of seed per pass than other, smaller seeding equipment, reducing passes, saving time, and improving productivity in the field.
(Based on – http://www.greatplainsag.com/node/10228)