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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been hearing more and more about crimping cover crop to improve soil health over disking. Decreases the amount of water loss by keeping the soil cooler. Two questions for you ag guys out there:

1. Would a lawn roller work to do this vs. an atv crimper?
2. Do you seed, then crimp? Or vice-versa?
 

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I am in my 4th year of coverting to no-till so I am still learning. Here are some photos of my cover crop (winter rye) which I drilled soybeans into on June 3rd last year (Banana Belt of the U.P.). Unlike Grant Woods' Proving Grounds in Missouri, our cover crops just aren't going to be that tall on June 3rd so I'm not sure if I will delay planting some, plant cover crops earlier and at a heavier rate or just accept the fact that I may not get as much mileage from my cover crop as those in more southern latitudes:

Cover crop on June 3rd:

Plant Sky Natural landscape Tree Grass


No-Till drilled beans into it on June 3rd:

Sky Plant Tree Natural landscape Grass


June 3rd:

Sky Plant Tree Natural landscape Cloud
 
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I don't have a crimper (yet) so I spray to terminate the cover crop. Here is what it looked like on June 13th - 10 days after planting:

Cloud Sky Plant Tree Natural landscape


One month later - July 13th - Cover crop residue is pretty thin and beans have been heavily browsed by too many deer. Not sure if crimping would have made any difference here but any kind of cover crop residue you can leave on the soil surface is going to help 1) retain moisture 2) reduce heat from the sun 3) build organic matter, 4) reduce erosion, etc.

Sky Plant Plant community Tree Natural landscape


By comparison - These beans (July 13th) were drilled the same day but they were protected from browsing with an E-Fence.

Plant Plant community Tree Natural landscape Sky


I drilled a cover crop of winter wheat right over top of the beans so we will see what happens this year. I am still thinking about getting a crimper but I've got to get a better cover crop to start with. We also tagged 9 deer last year so hopefully we will have fewer mouths to feed this year.

Grant woods is planting his fall cover crop in what he calls his Fall Buffalo Blend which consists of a quick growing annual clover, rye, wheat, radish and brassicas. I may roll my own blend of these seeds this year and give that a try. He drills this mixture at a rate of 65-70#/acre.
 

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I have been hearing more and more about crimping cover crop to improve soil health over disking. Decreases the amount of water loss by keeping the soil cooler. Two questions for you ag guys out there:

1. Would a lawn roller work to do this vs. an atv crimper?
2. Do you seed, then crimp? Or vice-versa?
No, you need a roller crisper to terminate rye grain. There are other things to consider.

https://sustainable-farming.rutgers...ou-About-Using-Roller-Crimpers-Rabin-2013.pdf
 

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the purpose of the roller crimper is to 1) mow it down and 2) break the stem at numerous points, destroying the circulatory system of the plant and killing it. If you search no till farming and cover crop farming and similar topics on youtube, you'll find farmers are getting creative to replicate the process. Using a disc on the shallowest setting could work but you'd need to do it twice in perpendicular directions. Once to knock it down and then rotate 90 degrees and do it again to break the stems.
 

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No, you need a roller crisper to terminate rye grain. There are other things to consider.

https://sustainable-farming.rutgers...ou-About-Using-Roller-Crimpers-Rabin-2013.pdf
Some very good info in the link Mike. I think I will seriously look at the delayed planting once I get into crimping the cover crop rather than spraying.

This brought to mind another option which I have done in the past, which is mowing the cover crop prior to planting...in this case, a late planting of pumpkins:

June 17th - Standing, fall planted rye:

Plant Sky Green Tree Natural landscape


Mowed it with brushog - June 17th

Plant Plant community Green Tree Vehicle


Hand planted pumpkin seeds and erected E-Fence the following day

Plant Sky Plant community Natural landscape Tree


Had plenty of pumpkins for Halloween - Oct 19th

Wheel Tire Sky Plant Tractor


And there were plenty left for the deer when we removed the fence the week after Halloween. We had some weeds which could have been spot-sprayed, but they really didn't pose much of a problem.

Plant Tree Natural landscape Land lot Wood


So many options....crimp....spray....mow???
 

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John, at northwoodswhitetails.com is working with a fabricator in Menominee County on a crimper and has already built a prototype. Looking forward to his results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't have a crimper (yet) so I spray to terminate the cover crop. Here is what it looked like on June 13th - 10 days after planting:

View attachment 398915

One month later - July 13th - Cover crop residue is pretty thin and beans have been heavily browsed by too many deer. Not sure if crimping would have made any difference here but any kind of cover crop residue you can leave on the soil surface is going to help 1) retain moisture 2) reduce heat from the sun 3) build organic matter, 4) reduce erosion, etc.

View attachment 398919

By comparison - These beans (July 13th) were drilled the same day but they were protected from browsing with an E-Fence.

View attachment 398921

I drilled a cover crop of winter wheat right over top of the beans so we will see what happens this year. I am still thinking about getting a crimper but I've got to get a better cover crop to start with. We also tagged 9 deer last year so hopefully we will have fewer mouths to feed this year.

Grant woods is planting his fall cover crop in what he calls his Fall Buffalo Blend which consists of a quick growing annual clover, rye, wheat, radish and brassicas. I may roll my own blend of these seeds this year and give that a try. He drills this mixture at a rate of 65-70#/acre.
That is what I am thinking. Create my own mix, but very similar to what he uses. Seems like his combination has symbiosis between certain plantings. Probably nix the radish out of the mix. What kind of no-till drill are you using?
 

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Received this quote from Customcultipackers.com a few weeks ago. For the price and amount of plots I do, I determined that I'm just going to roll and terminate with gly.

3' ATV Crimper pull-tongue = $1200
4' ATV Crimper pull-tongue = $1468
5' ATV Crimper pull-tongue = $1835
6' ATV Crimper pull-tongue = $2202
7' ATV Crimper pull-tongue = $2569
ATV flip-over Crimper
3' ATV Crimper flip-over = $1451
4' ATV Crimper flip-over = $1818
5' ATV Crimper flip-over = $2185
6' ATV Crimper flip-over = $2552
7' ATV Crimper flip-over = $2919
 

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That is what I am thinking. Create my own mix, but very similar to what he uses. Seems like his combination has symbiosis between certain plantings. Probably nix the radish out of the mix. What kind of no-till drill are you using?
Land Pride 606NT - same as the Great Plains 606NT except for the color:

Wheel Tire Vehicle Land vehicle Sky
Tire Wheel Land vehicle Plant Vehicle
Tire Wheel Vehicle Automotive tire Tread
Tire Sky Plant Wheel Vehicle


Sky Plant Cloud Plant community Natural landscape
 

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I'll bet you do Jr!! It doesn't match all my other John Deere green stuff...but the price was right when I bought it at a "Show Special". I just hide it in the barn when I'm done drilling my seed so the neighbors don't know I've got any Kubota colored stuff. :D
 

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Grant said last year that Amish type crimper was coming out and he would update. Never seen a update after that.
Is this just a group of Amish that get together and come over and go back and forth and trample your foodplot with the horses to crimp it over in a natural way, with the possible bonus of some additional fertilizer/organic material left behind?
 
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