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COVER CROPS

Radishes & Rape

Description

Radishes establish very quickly, providing good ground cover, smothering weeds and preventing erosion. The taproot drives deep into the soil, pulling up nutrients otherwise unavailable to the shallower-rooted crops. These taproots provide a way for air, water and crop roots to penetrate deeply into the soil. Fall planted radishes are great for sequestering residual nutrients from the previous crop. Radishes work as a biofumigant, especially if incorporated in the vegetative stage.

Management

Radishes can be planted into existing crops at the beginning of leaf wilt, either by aerial application or by a high boy rigged with a broadcast system. They work well in mixes or can be seeded alone. In mixes, 2 or 3 lbs is all that's needed. Radishes winter kill when temperatures reach 23°F.

Establishment

Seed 8-10 lbs/A straight or 2-4 lbs/A in mixes. Drill in rows 6-8 inches apart, 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch deep. Radishes can be broadcast and rolled with a cultipacker or aerial seeded into drying corn. Use higher rates for broadcasting and aerial seeding. Radishes can be no-tilled into grass if the grass has been grazed or mowed very close.

Radishes & Rape Chart

UT
Nitro Radish

  • Fast establishing
  • Biofumigant characteristics
  • Consistent root growth
  • Bred to grow straight down to penetrate hardpan
  • Works well with KB Royal Annual Ryegrass

Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


UT
Dwarf Essex Rape

  • Not as upright as radish, more lateral growth
  • Needs at least 8 weeks of growth
  • Provides good ground cover
  • Winter hardy to 20° F
  • Will regrow if cut before bloom

Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

 

Radishes & Rape