Planting guide for using brassicas as a cover crop
Brassicas when planted correctly offer great benefits as a cover crop.
Brassicas are becoming a popular choice for those who are looking at new cover crop options. The benefits of brassicas are changing how we prioritize cover crop’s role in farming practices. Some of the attributes are:
- Scavenger of nutrients
- Weed suppression
- Suppress soilborne pests
- Alleviate soil compaction
- Erosion prevention
Brassicas are not a substitute for your current pest control strategies. They can be a weapon in your fight against pests. Be advised that brassicas are a warm season crop and they need to be established in late summer or early fall. A major benefit to them is they do not handle our cold winters well, so most are winter killed.
The following planting guide is a chart of common brassica cover crop species used in Michigan. For more in depth information on specific species, consult your Michigan State University Extension educator. A recommended resource for incorporating cover crops into a cropping plan titled “Managing Cover Crops Profitably” is available from SARE.
|Species||Soil pH||Min. Germ.||Depth in.||Drilledlb./A.||Broadcastlb./A.||Aeriallb./A.|
|Oilseed Radish||6.0-70||45||½ - ¾||10-20||11-22||12-24|
|Mustard||5.0-5.5||40||¼ - ¾||4-8||4.5-9||NR|
|Rapeseed/Canola||5.0-5.5||41||¼ - ½||2-5||2-5.5||2.5-6|
NR - Not Recommended