What is better than a Cover Crop? No-till Anhydrous Ammonia Is Better, Double Crop.

There is just too much US corn and not enough worldwide demand for it. A whopping 93 million acres predicted by the USDA by this Fall, 2016.

There is an oversupply of all commodities for sure. Land may need to lay idle in 2017.
The 1983 program, “Payment in Kind,” may be on the way if the EPA does not raise the Ethanol percentage in gasoline.

End of March, Cover Crop Cereal Rye, Spring Banding of Exactrix TAPPS, P-51C Mustang Openers at 8 mph.
 The next chapter is the kill of the Green Link.  Terminate early when soils are below 7 pH.

When the margin goes away, producers unfold the budget and expose the real economics.
Cover Crop is a fancy play on words.  “I do not have a 4 year rotation, I cannot double crop, I use cover crops.”
Cover crop seems to work best when:  Here are 14 key points to review.

1.       The seed cost is low and timing of the plant emergence is good.

2.       Planning for economic success takes about 3 years and on-farm seed storage of specialty seed helps.

3.       Large producers use mobile custom cleaners and Gravities to process the cover crop seed. Companies like Dennis

          Haugen of www.GeneralGrain.com ; 701 797 7269,  Hanaford, ND with 3 mobile Gravity processors, can produce timely


4.       Large producers source high quality parental seed registered, or certified and renew the parent quality often. Be careful

          about seed quality and germination. Have contact with the breeders primarily in the western states with state guidelines on

          seed processing.

5.       When the land cost is high, $5,000 to $10,000 per acre.

6.       When the soil quality or structure is poor in irrigated conditions. (forage harvest, ensilage programs).

7.       In irrigated hybrid seed corn production, whereby male rows are destroyed early resulting in more leaching of NO3.

8.       Land is put into production initially in the Peace River. Winter Wheat, Winter or Spring Barley, Flax or Oats act as good


9.       When there is more stored soil moisture than what the cash crop needs. Be ready to terminate early.

10.   When the Rotation is short such, as 3 years corn, followed by soybeans or 2 year rotations of corn and beans.

11.   When some amount of organic plant stored nitrogen is generated using a legume.

12.   When the proper machinery is available to establish a cover crop in mid-August between soybean or corn rows. Seed

        should be seeded into the soil and not surface or aerial broadcast.

13.   Soil active chemicals are not in the rotation.  

14.   When the cover crop is easy to kill and the use of Roundup can be avoided in the burn-down.

15.   When the burn-down is achieved at least 3 to 4 weeks ahead of planting corn or soybeans.


Western Kansas has double cropping opportunities with the right equipment. Fast turnaround with banded TAPPS using a Mustang Tool Bar at 61.25 feet on 15 inch band centers.

No Roundup is required. TAPPS is stabilized with Thio-Sol. Nitrogen is 166% more crop available, Phosphate is 200% more crop available with Exactrix Crystalline TAPPS.

P-51 B, C and CUE Mustang openers allow No-tillage at 8 mph banding speeds. The result is 1 acre per minute of correctly and exactly (1%CV) applied nutrients in liquid streaming flows.

Exactrix Ammonic (NH4) Stabilized Nitrogen is applied at .6 to .7 of the recommended university application.  Saving Millions of dollars over a farming career.

Mustang openers operate for 75 cents per acre on 30 inch centers or $1.50 per acre on 15 inch centers. Operating costs are at least ¼ to 1/5 of the Deere 2510.

Mustang openers can not burn corn roots or hurt plant emergence on 15 inch centers. The Exactrix tool pays back very fast when the turnaround must be quick.

Exactrix producers pay back the entire investment in the first crop production year. Producers can plant corn and band Exactrix TAPPS the same day in the same field with the corn planter or small grains seeder.

This means that in western conditions…100th Meridian and west…..in the Great American Desert, cover cropping is only successful when terminated early. Soils below 7 pH are susceptible to fungal diseases in the Green Bridge, http://pnwsteep.wsu.edu/tillagehandbook/chapter4/041691.htm. Producers must terminate early, about 3 to 4 weeks ahead of planting.

Western Cover Cropping could be a waste of seed, time and energy more than 66% of the time.
If Livestock graze the crop then it is not Cover Crop. It is a Forage Crop. And this needs to be taken into account in quest for long term crop insurance.

Cover cropping can hurt yields by robbing valuable stored soil moisture in western conditions unless it is terminated early, since 1 inch of stored soil moisture equals 7 bushels of no-till winter wheat.

Western No-till producers know for every 1 inch of stored soil moisture the Cover Crop uses, the Cover Crop needs to give back about $35.00 per acre in gross benefit in winter wheat.  

At the Center of the USA lies Smith Center, KS, and if you can Double Crop or Relay Intercrop. Then you do not need to Cover Crop.


Shelton/Grand Island, NE is known for Relay Intercrop first introduced by USDA-ARS Scientist, Jim Schepers. It works economically when commodity prices are low or when land values begin to drop.

Successful Relay Intercrop requires an irrigation at the right time, and the right equipment.  Kansas dryland double cropping requires low seed investment and a little bit of luck.

Cash crops still work better. Deep rooted winter crops and perennials provide more economic punch in almost all cases when rotated with spring crops.

Winter crops can be much more functional with the Geophysical Event, Climate Change.

Winter Rape, Winter Canola, Winter Wheat, Winter Triticale, Austrian Winter Peas, Winter Yellow and Green Peas, Winter Barley, Winter Brewing Barley, Camelina, Alfalfa, Crimson Clover, Sweet Clover, Hairy Vetch and not too far away, Winter Tansy Mustard.

 Winter Wheat and Soybeans.                                                                             Winter Barley and Soybeans.

Shorten your soybean and corn maturities, or add winter wheat and try double cropping instead. No-till Soybeans can follow winter wheat in double cropping in Kansas. Irrigated Sunflowers can follow Triticale in western Kansas.

A new growth regulator Palisade from Syngenta can also shorten winter wheat straw and let more light into the soybean row early.

Wheat and RR soybean can use the Roundup Harvest label and the Relay Intercrop production cycle can gain 10 more days in June. Consider raising a marketable Winter Barley straw crop and Double Crop, or selling barley short cut to a health food market.

Winter Barley straw is also a good soil sanitizer (algaecide) and ideal for mulching a high quality garden.

Winter Barley straw is also a favorite bedding for high value animals.

Exactrix nitrogen can boost soybeans in double crop by placing 30 lbs. N/A with a Mustang tool bar before or after seeding or planting.

Mustang Tool Bars band to 7 to 8 inch depth, And run at high speeds to 12 mph with low soil disturbance. 
Mustang, P-51B, P-51C, P-51CUE openers operate for ¼ to 1/5 the cost per acre of the Deere 2510.

Double cropping soybeans is successful in Central and Eastern Kansas conditions about 70% of the time, and not a big risk with the right seed costs and No-tillage systems.

Spring dry peas are a good example of cash crop that is a form of a cover crop.  Since peas do not pull deep moisture ( 2 to 3 feet), and peas provide an ideal seed bed for the following crop.

Spring peas are normally raised as a dollar swap crop in the budget. No-till Spring Peas beat a summer-fallow system. 

Peas are a cleanup crop and drive a powerful rotation in western conditions.

Mustang openers band NH3 much deeper (7- 8 inches) than fixed angle openers like the Deere 2510 (4 to 4.5 inches) providing better access to nutrients that are not mobile. Stabilized TAPPS works better.
Root colonies develop deeper to handle drought stress better. P-51CUE openers band to depths of 8 inches.

Cover Crops seem to work well when there is consistently more moisture then what the crop needs.
The future of cover cropping will be under pressure as rotations move to double cropping.
Cover crops do have limitations.  

Austrian Winter Peas, or a mix, could work better for these Ohio producers. Cereal Rye may use too much water.
The key point is to terminate early.

Early Cover Crop Termination Following El Niño

Cover Crops
Source: Ohio State University Extension

By Rory Lewandowski, Ohio State University Extension Wayne County Educator

Cover crops provide multiple benefits with regards to protecting soil from erosion, improving soil health and as a component of a nutrient management plan. For those cover crops that overwinter and resume growth in the spring, such as cereal rye and annual ryegrass, an important question is: When do I terminate the cover crop? 

That decision should consider the next crop, planting date of that next crop, the spring weather pattern and purpose of the cover crop. For cover crops that have not been planted with the intention of providing a forage harvest, and are on acres intended for corn grain production, this may be a year to consider early termination of that cover crop.

A driving factor for early termination of cover crops this year is the potential for a drier than average spring and summer. On a recent Ohio State University Extension Ag Crops team conference call, Jim Noel from the National Weather Service talked about weather patterns following an El Niño year. Often the pattern is for the spring and summer months to be drier and warmer than average. At this point, warmer than average weather and plant growth points to an earlier spring. 

I have talked with several farmers who tell me that our soil moisture is drier than average. If this pattern holds, the risk is a cover crop can take up moisture that should be saved for the cash crop. At the recent conservation tillage conference in Ada, Ohio, I saw data that showed lower corn yields following cover crops in dry years when those cover crops were not terminated early enough. Those cover crops robbed soil moisture leading to delayed germination and slower development that was not made up compared to a corn crop planted with no cover crops or planted into a winterkilled cover crop. 

Given the risk of or the potential for a drier-than-average spring and summer, cash grain corn producers should consider terminating cereal grain and annual ryegrass cover crops in the late March to early April time frame. Ideally, we would like to see less than 8 inches of growth for either of those crops. I have read several sources that recommend annual ryegrass be terminated at 6 inches or less of growth. The recommended method for early termination is the use of herbicides. 

Glyphosate should be effective, especially if day time temperatures are above 50 F, and is probably one of the most economical options. A Purdue Extension publication entitled “Successful Annual Ryegrass Termination with Herbicides” says that producers need to use at least 1.25 pounds of acid equivalent per acre of glyphosate — possibly up to 2.5 pounds of acid equivalent per acre under less-than-ideal condition for herbicide translocation. Purdue research also shows that mixing 1 ounce of Sharpen with 1.25 pounds of acid equivalent rate of glyphosate provides the most consistent results in terminating the cover crop. 

Mark Loux, Ohio State Extension weed specialist says that the Sharpen option only needs to be used where there is a desire for burndown help with marestail or other weeds. The advantage of using Sharpen for this purpose in the tankmix is that it won't reduce the glyphosate activity, which can happen with atrazine or 2,4-D in the mix. Loux’s recommendation is to use a minimum of 1.5 pounds of acid equivalent per acre of glyphosate for cover crop termination and only include Sharpen if marestail control is needed. This article from 2015 talks more about cover crop burndown.

See more at: http://www.no-tillfarmer.com/articles/5613-early-cover-crop-termination-following-el-ni%C3%B1o#sthash.Oyb7cuwD.dpuf

TAPPS Formulator 2KM Weigh Master.                                                                                    Liquid NH3 Injection, 2KC Weigh Master, Series 3.   

 Tri-Ammonium Poly Phosphate Sulfate or Crystalline TAPPS.

Training Videos are available at www.exactrix.com/EOYT.htm

More news about Relay Intercropping at www.exactrix.com/RI.htm

Nitrogen Stabilization,
Thio-Sul® is as good or better than N-Serve®. http://www.exactrix.com/Broadcast_03_11_16.htm

Mustard and Fumigation at WSU, U of I subject web page at www.exactrix.com/FM.htm

Terminate your Cover Crop Early.

TAPPS and TAPPKTS at www.exactrix.com/TF.htm

For a good overview of banding deeper go to Center Pivot Corn Production

Need more historical reference of Exactrix Global Systems? Go to www.exactrix.com/EWAC.htm

Banding Deeper in No-till without tillage with Rotational Band Loading. www.exactrix.com/mustang.htm

Need more information about STEEP test plots and how Exactrix performs? Go Go to www.exactrix.com/mcclure.htm

See Video  How TAPPS and TAPPKTS Changed a Kansas Farm. A  KSU Ag Economist gives a good review.    

Meeting your formulation needs. www.exactrix.com/TF.htm  

Picking your metering systems. www.exactrix.com/EPM.htm

Need more information on advanced crop production?   www.exactrix.com/EWAC.htm


Exactrix P51 Mustangs
 Outstanding Video With Kevin Medow and His P51 Mustangs