Dr. Greg Roth with ryegrass interseeded into corn.
A new interseeding study has been established to evaluate grazing of interseeded corn to enhance soil health and forage production. Extending the grazing season can help to reduce stored feed costs, reduce labor needs, and improve the overall profitability and sustainability of the operation. We began a new project this summer to utilize interseeding as tool to enhance the potential of fall grazing of corn residue and improve soil health and corn yields with the integration of livestock in annual crop production. As part of this, we developed a corn interseeding program using many of the principles established here in previous interseeding research to try to maximize the potential for biomass accumulation in the interseeding. We selected two fields totaling about 25 acres that had moderate yield potential with some soil depth or drainage issues. We planted a 102 d hybrid in mid-May at about 27,000 seeds per acre and interseeded annual ryegrass at V4 to V5 while sidedressing N. We used a short residual herbicide and followed with glyphosate prior to interseeding. Weed control and growth has been good and the interseeding emerged well and has developed decent biomass with the favorable conditions this summer. We have established two complimentary studies to look at the impact of corn plant populations and post-harvest N applications on the ryegrass biomass for grazing. We plan to graze some plots in the fall in the main study and then evaluate the impact on the corn yield, ryegrass stand and soil quality next spring. Our goal is to demonstrate that grazing can be integrated with corn production while enhancing soil health, extending the grazing season, and providing a high quality diet to grazing livestock.