Interseeder Field Demonstration Update
Posted: October 16, 2012
In 2012 we conducted a number of evaluations of the Penn State Interseeder around the state and on the Rock Spring research farm. Our goal has been to evaluate strategies for improving establishment success with the interseeder. We have evaluated herbicides, planting dates, seed treatments and various species. At each trial, this year we came away with one or more ideas to use in the future. Overall, it was more difficult to get some great establishment this year but we did have some success and how to continue to build on that.
We conducted two trials in Northwest PA in Erie County and Crawford County. At the Erie County site conditions were dry for most of the season which is unusual for Erie County. Under these conditions, the mixes seeded with Crimson Clover seemed to persist well, while the grass establishment was limited. At the Crawford County farm, we compared annual ryegrass to an Italian ryegrass/Crimson Clover blend. Here the grasses established well but the clover did not. At this farm, we found that planting into a manured rye cover crop residue made for a good seedbed for the cover crop, so this could be a long term goal. This field had long straight rows that were easy to interseed in as well.
We also conducted two trials in Northeast PA in Bradford and Sullivan County. At the Bradford County site, a relatively dry summer limited establishment of both ryegrasses and clover. At this site a short residual herbicide program using Resolve gave good season long weed control in corn following alfalfa, which will be useful for future work. At the Sullivan County site, we had success with a number of species, including tillage radish. This field was a high residue no-till field that was planted later in May.
In Centre County, we had two trials our where we evaluated the potential of a seed treatment called “Yellow Jacket” on the establishment of an Italian Ryegrass blend. Our preliminary conclusions are that we were not able to improve establishment with the seed treatment. Establishment at both of these sites was somewhat variable in the field. In roughly one third of the field establishment was very good while in some other areas it was spotty. We have noticed improved growth through the fall on these sites and are interested to see what they look like following harvest.
We will be continuing our work with the interseeder next year and are developing some new strategies that should help with some of the consistency. Partial funding for the work reported here was provided by the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.