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Soil Sense

89 EpisodesProduced by NDSU ExtensionWebsite

Welcome to the Soil Sense Podcast, where we believe that building healthier soils is not just a prescription, but rather a pursuit. This journey requires collaboration, curiosity, and communication among farmers, agricultural researchers, agronomists, consultants, and extension. You’re going to hear… read more


Field Check: Considering Crop Rotation When Selecting Cover Crops

“I’m looking at cover crop mix to put on some ground that’s going to be seeded to wheat and barley next year. I’m wondering if barley works in that mix or if I should be looking at something else?” - Bryan Kenner of Kenner Farms

Dr. Andrew Friskop joins us to answer Bryan’s question. He is a cereal extension plant pathologist at North Dakota State University. Dr. Friskop begins tackling this question by pointing out that the focus needs to be on whether already present “diseases in barley could be contributing to next year’s barley crop.” Potential risk of residue borne diseases such as fungal leaf spots, net blotch, spot blotch and Fusarium head blight need to be evaluated and are typically of most concern. However, Dr Friskop does highlight that a cover crop mix creates a different environment than a monoculture environment would.

“We have a lot less plants. Those other plants might actually be barriers for some of that infection. So how I treat the situation is I would suggest that yes, there is a risk, but I wouldn’t consider it a high risk just because of some of those other factors.” - Dr. Andrew Friskop

While introducing plants that may transmit disease is not ideal it seems the cover crop mix environment makes the risk of that unlikely. The two biggest risk factors for cover crops spreading disease involve soybean cyst nematode in soybeans and clubroot in canola. You ultimately want to avoid a “pathogen and disease system that’s very difficult to manage once you have it.” All that being said, “mother nature always throws us curve balls.”

“We handle each season as a separate year and we just look at managing the wheat and barley crop to the best of our ability for each year.” - Dr. Andrew Friskop

Follow the link to participate in our next question and answer segment to share your questions and get them answered by the experts!

Connect with Soil Sense at Soil Sense Initiative

Soil Sense Podcast is hosted by Tim Hammerich of the Future of Agriculture Podcast.

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