Farmers are interested in growing tillage radishes as they may potentially offer many environmental and economic benefits. Tillage radishes are quick at scavenging excess nitrogen, provide good ground cover, and break down very quickly in the spring to make way for spring planting. The plants winter kill, but the dead frozen plant material can still supress the earliest spring weeds from establishing. The roots themselves are known to drill through compacted soil layers as they grow, and the holes left by decomposed roots the next spring may also allow more water to infiltrate into the soil. Growing tillage radish as a cover crop in the northeast is new and best practices for success have yet to be established. Although a tillage radish crop may have many benefits, it must be planted earlier than our other cereal grain cover crops commonly used following corn silage. Proper planting and seeding rates must be determined to enable the crop to provide quick ground cover and substantial root growth while minimizing planting costs. The goal of this project was to determine the impact of planting date and seeding rate on tillage radish survival and crop characteristics including nitrogen content and root volume. While the data presented are only representative of one year, this information can be combined with other research to aid in making planting decisions for tillage radishes in the Northeast.


Vermont, University of Vermont

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