Monday, June 22, 2020

Mowing Red Clover

In the spring of 2019 I drilled a nurse crop of oats, underseeded with medium red clover on this transitional (to USDA Organic) ground. The oats were mowed off, along with any weeds, last summer. The clover continued to grow and came back this spring. We're mowing it off again, to kill weeds, and to "feed" soil microbes. What those microbes "excrete" will then be the "food" for my future crop. Around the first of August, after mowing it again, I'll have 3 tons/acre of turkey litter spread on the stubble. Then disc that down, killing most of the clover. Into that I'll drill a tillage radish, with possibly some other species (oats,...?). That will winter kill. Next spring I'll disc again and then plant organic corn.

I've found this the best way to transition ground from conventional (aka chemical) to organic. The small amount of money I'd get from harvesting either the conventional oats or clover aren't worth what I'd lose in soil benefits for my future organic cash crop.

My dad is driving the tractor, a Deere 8100, that's pulling a Deere 520 flail mower. I like how it leaves an even layer of "mulch", with no windrowing.

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