It's exciting times around the farm because I planted some grass (along with some other stuff) and now I'm watching it grow.
I planted this small test plot of a cover crop cocktail back on June 4, we had almost ideal growing conditions with plenty of rain right after planting and temperatures just under 100, and by June 27 when I posted an update on how it was growing it had grown to about 24 inches tall and my "cocktail" seemed to be mainly sorghum-sudangrass with some blackeyed peas. I've grown sorghum-sudangrass before and knew that it grew relatively quick, so I expected that I would get that amount of growth in that amount of time.
Today, about 50 days after planting, the sorghum-sudangrass is somewhere around 6-7 feet tall, the blackeyed peas are almost 3 feet tall and look healthy, I can finally easily see a few corn plants here and there, the okra seems to having some trouble growing and is pretty short, the sunflowers and soybeans seem to be a complete failure (probably a seed problem), and I also have some weeds and crabgrass. Overall, I wouldn't have guessed that I could get that much growth in that short a period of time, or that just 5 lb. of sorghum-sudangrass per acre would be that thick.
Without some soil tests, it's hard to know if the fertility is significantly higher in this test plot compared to any of the cropland, but I'd guess that it's not that far off (although I've spread biochar in this test plot, and some compost years ago). I'd be surprised if I didn't get similar results if I planted this cover crop cocktail on my cropland.
|BEFORE - June 27 - 24" tall|
|50 days after planting - July 25 - 6-7' tall|
I can't see any wheat, canola, or crimson clover growing, although I wouldn't expect to see them yet anyway. I'm hoping that as fall gets closer and the warm season plants start to mature and winter kill that the cool season plants will start growing like most of what I've read about these cocktails claims will happen. Stay tuned for another exciting edge-of-your-seat update sometime this fall on that subject.
At this point, from what I'm seeing I believe that planting something like this on a larger scale would definitely work to both feed my cattle and improve my cropland at the same time. I also have a few new ideas about how I would change this mixture on a larger scale.
Reading about something is one thing, actually doing something is an entirely different animal.