Doug Shoup – Ottawa Field Day

(Doug) I’m Doug Shoup, the southeast area Crops and Soils Specialist for Kansas State University. I’m located out of Chanute, Kansas. Gonna talk a little bit today about some of the research projects that I have going on specific to southeast Kansas. We have a bit of an interest in cover crops over the last five years or so. And so I’ve started this project at the Ottawa research station here focusing on the impact of cover crops, different cover crop mixtures and its impact on both corn and soybean yields the following season. This project we started in 2011. We harvested the corn, then we immediately seeded different species of cover crops ranging from rye only, we put some turnips and some radish only mixes and then we started to do some blends between winter peas and some brassica species like turnips and like radish in addition to rye. And since that time we’ve evolved some of our species mixtures to include other things like brassicas and some buckwheat, we’ve included some of the sorghum species and also we’ve kept in our cool season grasses like rye. So we’re working on about year three of the project. We’ve had some initial yields come back on soybeans and what you hear a lot is the water use patterns of cover crops. And we had a impact on our soybean yields that first year, but it was 2012 and we had an extremely dry year and we had some water usage that affected the soybean crop of the next year. Now 2013 we didn’t see an effect on the subsequent corn crop. And this year 2014 we’ve had quite a different season. We’ve had quite a bit of rain early in the year, in through the month of June. We got excellent growth and of course July really turned off hot and dry. And so we’ll see how the yields shake out. I do think that cover crops are a very important piece for the livestock industry for southeast Kansas. We’ve been doing a lot of research on cattle species preference. Looking at some of the forage quality and the forage quantity of some of these cover crop species as well and I think it’s really beneficial to the producer. It’s an immediate payback. They can see from the investment and the time that they’ve put in to seeding the cover crops, we can see an almost immediate return by planting species that cattle do prefer. And we can increase pounds of beef per acre or we can increase the production of our cow/calf herd.

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