This summer has been a little different compared to previous summers because it's been a little less hot, and we've had a little bit more rain, plus I think my organic matter (OM) levels are finally starting to increase a little in the cropland due to switching to no-till and growing crops like grain sorghum and sorghum-sudangrass. All of that has given me a better stand of sorghum-sudangrass this summer than I've seen before.
I planted this field on July 22 and approximately 3 weeks after emergence, it is already almost 24" tall, seems to be a relatively uniform stand across the field, and the only fertilizer I've applied is what I top dressed on the wheat back in late-February. Right now, it looks like sorghum-sudangrass with it's deeper and denser roots might be much better at scavenging nitrogen than crabgrass is (it figures, since I just shot my mouth off about how great crabgrass was).
For $12-13 per acre for seed, sorghum-sudangrass might work even better than crabgrass if I ever tried any of the grand plans for the future I talked about in the previous post, it probably catches much more than $12 worth of NPK, and in the long run it might help create more OM. Plus, a field of sorghum-sudangrass is a little bit more impressive and looks like I'm a honest-to-goodness farmer with a honest-to-goodness plan compared to just growing a field of volunteer crabgrass.
Since photos seem to help me remember how things looked when they were growing, I took a series of photos from different positions. For comparison, this is also where I took my wheat growth pictures back in April and May.
|Looking South East - Haygrazer 21 Days After Emergence|
|Looking South - Haygrazer 21 Days After Emergence|
|Looking West - Haygrazer 21 Days After Emergence|
But, even though I know all the benefits of cover cropping, every time I drive by, I still have to keep telling myself, I. MUST. NOT. BALE. THIS. FIELD. It's a little tougher than I thought it would be to feed the soil instead of baling it for hay.
So, if you get the chance, try and remind me not to bale this field and that I should stick to my original plan.
|Driving South on the old oil field road along the property line - Haygrazer 21 Days After Emergence|
In the last photo, you can see the neighbor's field (gosh, that dirt in the road and field sure looks red, doesn't it?). Nowadays, I'd much rather pull a drill and plant something, than pull a plow, disc, or cultivator over a field.
For the amount of money I used to spend on fuel pulling tillage implements, I could have planted a heck of a lot of different cover crops and I could have fed a lot of cattle.