Cover Crops Case Studies: Gary Sommers Farm


Author(s) Christopher Anderson, Diane Mayerfeld.

The drought has left many Wisconsin growers short on forage to feed their animals. As a consequence of this and other factors, many folks are considering re-purposing their cover crops as forage crops. It's important that growers know what herbicides and other pesticides were used in their corn and soybean to ensure when future crops can be planted. It is illegal to plant forage crops prior to the lapse of recrop intervals stated on the previous crops' pesticide labels. If these restrictions are not followed, herbicide residues could appear in the food system. In this podcast discussion, UW-Extension agronomist Vince Davis explains this issue in greater detail.

Wisconsin is seeing a renewed interest in planting cover crops to prevent soil erosion, retain or add nutrients, reduce pest pressures, provide forage, and accomplish other goals. Farmers and extension educators are asking questions about which cover crops to plant, how to fit them into different cropping systems, and what equipment is needed to plant and manage them. This case study shares the experience of one Wisconsin farmer who has been growing cover crops for twenty years. Gary Sommers presents his philosophy of cover crop use, explains what cover crop management practices have and have not worked on his cash grain farm, and describes what benefits he sees from growing cover crops (4 pages; 2012).