Kenny Roche1, Roger W. Elmore2, Katja Koehler-Cole3, Christopher Proctor2 and Angela Bastidas2, (1)University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE (2)University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NE (3)Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Omaha, NE
There is increasing interest of using cover crops for forage. Maximizing the fall and spring biomass potential of cover crops partially depends on the timely planting of the cover crops after harvesting wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). The objective of this study was to examine the effect of planting date on the biomass production of two commonly used cereal cover crops. Rye (Secale cereale L.) and oat (Avena sativa L.) were planted using a grain drill as monocultures and as a mixture at three different times in 2015 (August 22nd, September 10th, and October 1st). The trial was conducted at the South Central Agricultural Laboratory under rain-fed conditions located in Clay Center, Nebraska on moderately well drained and well drained Typic Crete-Hastings association soils (silty loam). Early results suggest an increase in biomass production with earlier planting dates. Additionally, even though the oats did not survive the winter , over-all there was an approximately four-fold increase of biomass production in spring growth (3.7-6.2 tons acre-1) versus the fall (.3-1.6 tons acre-1). The preliminary data suggest that fall cover crop biomass production would not be a viable option for forage use, but spring forage maybe an option prior to rotation to another crop. We anticipate that data collected through 2016-2017 will help us further understand the possibilities of using cover crops following wheat.