Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Sunday 02/24/13

Examining Double Cropping and Biotech Coexistence
USDA is spending a lot of time and resources working on issues such as cover (double) cropping and co-existence of biotech and non-biotech crops.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:28PM CST 02/24/13 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (6)
I understand some of the benefits of cover crops but I would like to point out some of the negatives too. 1. In order to plant into cover crops you will have to spray them to kill them which could lead to more resistance to chemicals and actually increase chemical usage. 2. Cover crops do use water to grow which could limit the following crop causing a loss. You don't ever get something for nothing. 3. You can't plant cover crops on soil that is to wet to get on, only improved drainage (surface, tile) will solve these issues. You don't build a house without a good foundation. 4. More fuel usage will be required to seed and to spray the cover crop and also the land use to raise the seed. Also more equipment will be needed because more people have switched to row crop equipment. 5. In northern climates you are limited by time and growing season. Sometimes your lucky to get your main crop through the growing season. I would hope our tax dollars would be used to find permanate "real world" solutions based on sound and proven science like drainage and irrigation developement. That is the technology we promote in developing countries. It seems sometimes we are undermining our own ag economy here.
Posted by Young Farmer at 8:25AM CST 02/25/13
All I can say, 'Young Farmer', is that plenty of data exists, both from research and practical experience, to refute every objection you put forth. But if you are convinced that cover crops will not work, then they will not work for you. If you want to sink hundreds of thousands of dollars (I won't call it an investment, because that would imply that it is a wise financial decision) into "solutions" like drainage and irrigation, you're welcome to do so. But the farmers with sustainable cropping systems using continuous no-till and cover crops will be waiting to get your land at fire-sale prices when you can no longer afford to pump from a diminishing aquifer, or when you have to shut down your drainage system because it has been identifiend as a point source of nutrient pollution.
Posted by Bill Kuenstler at 1:17PM CST 02/26/13
Sorry Bill I just deal in facts and sense.
Posted by Young Farmer at 6:24PM CST 02/26/13
Bill Kuenstler? NRCS in Colorado? Biased opinion? No real world experience other than projects that use taxpayers money? Mike from North Dakota
Posted by Michael Martin at 8:22PM CST 02/26/13
To Young Farmer, please take the time to read some research and information on cover crops. Some of your assumptions are true, but others are not accurate. To be clear, some cover crops require tillage or herbicide to terminate, but others are frost terminated, requiring no additional herbicide. Additionally, research shows cover crops reduce weed populations. So spraying a cover crop can replace having to spray for weeds later in the growing season. Second, it is true that cover crops use water during the growing phase, but once terminated, the vegetative cover conserves more water for the commodity crop than the water used during cover crop growth. And let's not discount the soil health benefits of cover crops of improving percolation and soil organic matter which allow soils to absorb more water to be available for the commodity crop. In terms of fuel use, keep in mind that cover crops are not simply an add on to existing practices. In many ways, cover crops can replace other steps, providing a fuel savings. Please be sure to look on both sides of the coin on that issue. And yes, northern climates have fewer growing degree days than southern climates, but farmers everywhere (from Canada to Mexico) are able to make cover crops work to improve their soil and their profit. While Young Farmer may not be interested in these details, I thought it is important to others to clarify some of these points.
Posted by Ryan Stockwell at 9:47AM CST 02/27/13
Ryan and Bill I was just stating the facts. You can't shingle a house if it doesn't even have a foundation or the rafters up.
Posted by Young Farmer at 5:06PM CST 02/28/13
 
Examining Double Cropping and Biotech Coexistence
USDA is spending a lot of time and resources working on issues such as cover (double) cropping and co-existence of biotech and non-biotech crops.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:28PM CST 02/24/13 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
I understand some of the benefits of cover crops but I would like to point out some of the negatives too. 1. In order to plant into cover crops you will have to spray them to kill them which could lead to more resistance to chemicals and actually increase chemical usage. 2. Cover crops do use water to grow which could limit the following crop causing a loss. You don't ever get something for nothing. 3. You can't plant cover crops on soil that is to wet to get on, only improved drainage (surface, tile) will solve these issues. You don't build a house without a good foundation. 4. More fuel usage will be required to seed and to spray the cover crop and also the land use to raise the seed. Also more equipment will be needed because more people have switched to row crop equipment. 5. In northern climates you are limited by time and growing season. Sometimes your lucky to get your main crop through the growing season. I would hope our tax dollars would be used to find permanate "real world" solutions based on sound and proven science like drainage and irrigation developement. That is the technology we promote in developing countries. It seems sometimes we are undermining our own ag economy here.
Posted by Young Farmer at 12:24PM CST 02/25/13
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