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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #366708

Research Project: Multifunctional Farms and Landscapes to Enhance Ecosystem Services (Bridge Project)

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: Interseeding forage crops into corn

item WILLIAMSON, JESSICA - Pennsylvania State University
item Soder, Kathy
item Andreen, Danielle (elle)

Submitted to: Extension Fact Sheets
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/14/2019
Publication Date: 8/15/2019
Citation: Williamson, J., Soder, K.J., Andreen, D.M. 2019. Interseeding forage crops into corn[abstract]. Extension Fact Sheets. P. 1.

Interpretive Summary: No Interpretive Summary is required for this 115. JLb.

Technical Abstract: Integrating grazing livestock and cropping systems on an operation can increase diversity, sustainability, and overall profitability of both enterprises. Integration of these systems can optimize land use, reduce stored and harvested feed needs, reduce environmental impact, and provide an outlet for manure application. The InterSeeder™ was developed to sow cover crops directly into the interrows of standing corn while simultaneously applying herbicides and fertilizer. Planting cover crops earlier in the season rather than after corn harvest allows for germination while not affecting corn growth and yield. After corn harvest, the cover crop can then be managed as an alternative forage and utilized in the fall and spring for ruminant livestock grazing. The objective of this study is to enhance ruminant livestock-cropping systems that promote sustainable intensification through balancing agricultural productivity and environmental quality by improving soil and nutrient conservation, extending the grazing season, and reducing imported nutrients. An annual forage crop will be planted using the InterSeeder™ at the corn V4 to V5 stage. Soil fertility will be managed to favor the corn as a cash crop prior to grain harvest. Following the harvest of corn for grain, nutrients will be applied to the interseeded forage to maximize forage mass for grazing. Growing cattle will graze corn stover and interseeded alternative forages in the fall, and if growth allows, again in the spring before subsequent crop planting. In this project, carrying capacity, forage quality, stocking rate, subsequent crop yield, insect pressure, and soil health characteristics will be evaluated.