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CROP CHART FOR ROTATING CROPS

ORIGINAL CHART FROM THE RODALE INSTITUTE

1 Lower rates for drilling, higher rates for broadcast seeding.

2
After frost = spring frost-free date until midsummer; late sum. = ~6-8 weeks before fall frost.

3 Fls = mow/roll at full bloom (legumes) or pollen-shed (grasses); Sd = mow/roll when seed partially developed (green or milk stage); WK = winterkill; SK = sets seeds and dies down in late spring; seeds germinate in late summer or early fall. No mowing needed for WK or SK.

4 Estimated above ground biomass for cover crop grown until full bloom, immature seed stage, or winter kill in Zones 6b-8b of southeastern U.S., including VA, NC, SC, KY, TN, GA, AL. Total biomass including roots + exudates is 50-100% more. Biomass for grass + legume covers may exceed either one grown alone. 

5 B = harbors beneficial insects; N = fixes nitrogen; NR = takes up and holds soluble soil N; P = makes soil phosphorus more available; K = makes soil potassium more available; W = effectively suppresses weeds; SS =opens subsoil; TS = conditions/mellows topsoil. All cover crops add organic matter and protect soil from erosion. Boldface = particularly strong effect (N fixation potential 150+ lb/ac, N recovery 70+ lb/ac; weeds suppressed by allelopathy and strong competition).

6 These species experimental in Virginia no-till systems; planting recommendations and biomass information are preliminary only.


 HARDY LEGUMES, from Rodale Institute
 Crop     Species
 Hardi-
ness, oF
 Seeding
rate,
lb/ac(1)    
 Seedling
depth,
inches
 Seed
inoculant
 When to
plant(2)
 When to
mow/roll
 Biomass
tons/ac

 main
benefit

 BigFlower
vetch      
 <-10 20-40 0.5-1.5 pea/vetch early
fall
 Fls or
SK
 1-2 N, B, P,
TS
 Comments: sets seed and dies in May, germinates in fall
 Hairy
vetch
 -10-15 20-4- 0.5-1.5 pea/vetch early
fall
 Fls
(May)
 1-3 N, B, P,
TS, W
 Comments: Best winter legume for cooler regions
 Sweet
Clovers
 -10 6-20 0.25-1alfalfa/
sweet
clover
 Apr-
Aug*
 Fls
(May)
 1.5-3 SS, P, N, W, NR,TS

 Comments: Several varieties, most biennial w/deep taproot; some semi-hardy annual
* Annual varieties - plant summer to winter-kill
 Crimson
Clover
 0-10 15-30 0.25-
0.5
 clover late
Sum.
 Fls
(May)
 1.5-3 N, NR, B, P, W

 Comments: slow-release N; can self-seed; best winter legume for milder regions
 Sub
clovers
 0-15 10-30 0.25-
.05
 clover late
Sum
 SK 1.5-4 B, W, N, NR, P
 comments: drought tolerant; may inhibit small-seeded crops
 Austrian
winter pea
 5-10 70-120 1-3 pea/
vetch
 lat
Sum
 Fls
(May)
 1.5-3 N, B, P, TS
 Comments: Rapid N release & mulch breakdown
 Semi-Hardy Legumes
 Crop     Species Hardi-
ness, oF
  Seeding
rate,
lb/ac(1)   
  Seedling
depth,
inches
 Seed
inoculant
  When to
plant(2
 When to
mow/roll
 Biomass
tons/ac
 main
benefit
 Lana
Vetch
 10-15 10-60 0.5-1 pea/
vetch
 early
Spr. Late
Sum
 Fls
(-July)
WK
 1.5-4.5 N, B, P, TS, W
 Comments: Similar to hairy vetch, less hardy, very high biomass it it overwinters

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