Cover crops can penetrate hardpan, aerate soil, recycle nutrients, suppress undesirable weeds, create water percolation paths, and add biomass to soil, all in only 6 to 8 weeks.
Here in southeast Nebraska we have simplified the cover crop recommendations for planting after wheat is harvested in July. Plant as soon as practical after wheat is harvested. To keep cost a minimum we recommend oats and radish for tillage purposes and oats and turnips if grazing is a priority. After experimenting with this, add other seed types to benefit the soil. Seed "cocktails" are beneficial but can be costly and difficult to establish.
Cereal Rye: Elbon & Northern Winter Rye
Daikon Radish Cover Crop
Using deep-rooted Daikon Radish as a cover crop is a great way to address many issues in soil. Deep-rooted Daikon Radish works well to alleviate soil compaction and mellow out the soil. It's one root to easy get excited about!
A by product of the radish root penetrating deep into the soil is the natural uptake of nitrogen and other nutrients. Daikon Radish will store those nutrients in the plant and following winter-kill releases them for the cash crop to use.
To find out more about the benefits of radishes click here for a write up done by the Maryland Cooperative Extension.
Purple Top Turnip Cover Crop
This is a variation of turnip that is white and purple that has smooth, globe roots take about 55 days to reach maturity. This is a plant that has many great uses such as putting nutriments back into the soil as well as providing a food source for wildlife and livestock. The seeding rate is about 2 to 3 pounds per acre when blended or 5 to 6 pounds per acre when pure stand.
To find out more about the benefits of turnips click here for a write up done by Purdue University.