Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The Tillage Radish craze is spreading. I see more and more farmers trying radishes to improve their soil.

I even sowed some with my double crop soybeans and will be anxious to see the results. They deifinitely loosened up the soil around the beans after pounding rains in April and May but I think there is more to it than that.

It seems that when they sprout they give off a gas that reacts with the soil or some chemical that retards plant and insect growth yet benefitting the crop they are in whether it is corn, soybeans and wheat.

A sure fired way to more notill corn is to plant wheat, harvest the wheat, plant radishes at a few pounds per acre then notill into their dead carcasses the next spring. They loosen up the soil and capture and release any nutrients they could scavage during their growth as the root hairs and tuber interact with the biology of the soil. They set a deep taproot over 60 days of growth that is ideal for the next crop to follow them.

I usually find an earthworm at the bottom of each decayed radish, too and I am all for earthworms. The more earthworms the merrier in my soils.

I didn't see them being pushed as hard at Farm Science Review this week as I did lime and gypsum and even tile plows. But they were there and many people were available to speak about using them and growing them.

It looks like my double crop beans are podded heavier where the radishes are planted but the combine will tell the whole story on yield difference, if any. I have gotten 12 more bushel of wheat interseeding radishes and I think I can get 5 more bushels of double crop beans with them, too. NoTill corn after radish is a good 10-12 bushels and I have seen 20 plus.

Everything I do to improve my soil physics, chemistry and biology usually works and I won't know unless I try.


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