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Wisconsin farmer fine-tunes his cover crop plan

An eastern Wisconsin farmer continues to fine-tune his cover cropping plan.  Dan Brick from Brickstead Dairy Farm near Greenleaf tells Brownfield he began cover cropping after visiting farmers in Pennsylvania about six years ago who were already doing it. “We’re kind of a low-input type on our operation here already. I don’t have much invested in equipment. Our goal was to be able to use the cover crops in replacing expensive equipment to use here on our farm, and it fits very well for us.”

Brick says he tried interseeding a cover crop into his corn and walked away from it three years ago after little success, but he’s about to try again… only a little sooner in the growing season. “We really feel that we’re not getting enough cover in the spring because we have a short fall. We don’t have enough growing degree days to get that cover crop a good start, and we feel we don’t have enough protection here in the springtime with heavy rains.”

Brick says barley was always a favorite cover crop since it grows in cooler conditions, and they’ve since added rye to their cover crop plans. And, Brick is looking forward to new BMR corn varieties so he can improve his cover crops. “The whole system needs to change and the seed companies are breeding for a shorter maturity corn when we’re looking at it for a BMR corn or silage corn, so yes, we are focusing in on that to get a shorter-day corn so that we can get a better cover crop in the fall time.”

Brick expects seed companies might release some shorter-season BMR corn varieties as early as next year.

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