Noah Wendt (left) are continuing to frost seed a cereal rye cover crop well into the winter this year. Noah farms corn, soy and small grains with
Caleb Akin (right) near Cambridge. While Noah and Caleb prefer to drill their cover crop after harvest, he remarks that the weather doesn’t always cooperate. “We can frost seed the fields that we didn’t get drilled,” Noah says.
Look for the right weather window: Noah advises to aim to frost seed when the upper 2-3 inches of the ground are frozen, and right before the weather looks like it will warm up. “When the soil thaws out and freezes, again, the seed gets sucked into the ground.” This year Noah will frost seed into late January.
Adjust your seeding rate: Since the cereal rye won’t tiller, Noah advises bumping the seeding rate up to 110-120 lb (about 2 bu)/ac. He estimates that last year two-thirds of the frost-seeded rye germinated in mid-March.
Reap the benefits: Noah says, “We frost seeded cereal rye on fall disked ground last January and it worked great. Good stand in the spring, and it grew 18-24 inches tall. As I do more research on this, it seems like the benefit of the cover crop is having a living root in the soil for organic matter accumulation and microbial activity. Frost seeding cover crops is great for that.”