Cowpea and Radish Cover Crop Seed, Frank Kutka, ND

Cowpea and Radish Cover Crop Seed, Frank Kutka, ND


All right, I’m Frank cuca. I am one of the co coordinators of the NP SAS farm breeding Club And I’m going to describe what we’ve been doing with our sare research and education grant on cover crops Soil health has certainly been a Big topic of discussion in the last few years it’s always been very very important It’s very nice to see that people are actively interested in the topic in a big way these days If you go to any of the various field days and demonstrations about soil health you find that Healthy soil water soaks right in it infiltrates Unhealthy soil water pools and it runs off If you ever see a slake test a nice piece of dry Healthy soil put into water maintains its shape even If it’s wet Unhealthy soil just dissolves turns to mud Doesn’t stick together cover crops are one of many different tools available to help improve the health and maintain the health of soils I Mean a lot of discussion about cover crops all across the region the last few years a lot of field days Demonstrations and so forth especially of multi species mixtures and PSAs got interested in this not only because of this Opportunity for sustainability, but also for the seed selling opportunity all of these cover crops are just going to be planted No, crop is harvested. So it’s sort of a one-way Trip for a lot of seed it might be a great opportunity for folks who want to raise the seed to sell for other farmers to maintain their soils One of the species that’s of great interest in the area is radish especially daikon radish those are the radishes that make gigantic roots This is a seedling with the characteristic heart-shaped cotyledons, so you can tell if you’ve planted rad that is present Daikon raddish moves right along it starts to put out these pinnately compound leaves kind of feathery and long Eventually, it starts to grow a root which is long and deep rather than round and red and A rosette so when you’re going to feel it’ll look a bit like this So before they bolt they just make this big flat plant the big root underneath roots can look like so and They will definitely crack an open soil they will help pull apart compacted zones to some degree they pull up a lot of nitrogen and Concentrate it into a form that will readily be released to the following crop. It’s a very interesting cover crop species But there been some problems with seed What could be the problem well radish gets sold as radish vns a lot of times and Something has happened Folks have planted radish seed in their mixtures and instead of finding great big daikon radishes They’ve found lots of little red cherry Bell kind of radishes because they’re just sold as radish. It’s the same species And here’s Jay if you’re giving a marvelous presentation and in the background this field. We’ve got all this radish flowering Don’t want radish flowering in your field Because if you leave it long enough that will go to seed and now you’ve got a new weed species in your field It’s a great weed So we don’t really want it to do that We decided we would try to find Radishes that made big roots really fast, and we’re late bloomers not likely to go to seed in the wrong timeframe We did know that you could grow this plant although it is a biennial it’s normally grown Where you’re planted in late June or early July? Let it make this great monstrous root, which should harvest and eat because it’s actually a food crop Following year it would bloom However here are Winn are cold enough it kills the radish out so that doesn’t work But if you plant the radish very early in the growing season there’s enough cold for most varieties to actually bolt and produce seed later on the same year problem is trying to find those that don’t bolt too early and want those that will actually still make seed because there are some that just Really don’t want to flower so we were trying to find. What would work what would make a good root fast and flower at the right time so we could produce seed here and Not have radish going to seed when it shouldn’t We’ve got folks working several different locations South Dakota is where we got started We’ve got a partner working with us in Wisconsin and the summer we will be partnering with some folks Planting some demos in the early county area of central, North Dakota Emily Stigall Meijer got us started Selby South Dakota, she grew fifty six different varieties Which got rated for how quickly they grew and how nice big roots they grew in planted late season We especially liked eight Emily’s holding her very favorite one which is a Nepalese version daikon radishes from Asia, and actually the varieties we liked were mostly from Japan India and Pakistan and Nepal I’ve had some issues with radish though Here’s stony acres farm CSA in Wisconsin where radish got increased We’ve had some problems figuring out how to grow this plant and make selections the way we wanted to do it The first time we planted them we got these nice little roots because the plants were planted late but we didn’t find a way to easily store those over the winter and Root storage is a big deal if you’re gonna have a plant. That’s gonna grow a great big root and then flower later Because if you plant it in spring to get seed You never see a big root developed it Just bolts right away So how do you tell which one really does the whole thing it has really been dogging us? Trying to figure out which radish is going to work, but we have at least several varieties We know make routes the right time we took remnant seed of those Katrina has increased so so we’ve got a pound or two of that seed which we’re going to hope to increase further So ongoing work with radish first off We want to figure out if we can actually store immature roots rather than fully mature roots and still plant them out the next spring so We can inter mate selections the right way and make things move forward Don’t know if that’ll work yet This year we’d like to do some variety demonstrations So we will plant a group of different varieties and small strips in Manila and perhaps it can find some other locations as well So that farmers can see the degree to which some of the varieties actually vary because they do some are really quite impressively different We’re gonna increase and do some initial selections with our new breeding population I think it’s got some real potential for growing big roots and improving the soil and then field days so farmers and gardeners can come see what we’re doing and see how the process works and take part because What we’re trying to find as a process that any of us can work with on farm to Not only grow the seed, but also continually improve it Alright now I’m gonna switch to our other cover crop species because our project has two species work with This one is when you If you ask people about cow peas a lot of times They’ll tell you about these sort of hard ground green peas that you grow for feed, but that’s not cow pee That’s just a field pea cow pee is a different species Vigna unglue Cullotta. It’s an African species Commonly grown in the south where it’s called black eyed peas because they’re varieties frequently have little black eyes Yeah, why don’t you go ahead and pass that around? Kopi looks like this out in the field It’s been a part of a lot of mixtures Because cowpeas very drought tolerant and very heat tolerant It doesn’t really like cold very much, but if it’s hot and dry it’s really what you want growing Plants come up. They look like this pretty similar to most other legumes And then they start to diverge a little bit, you can still tell this is related to a bean but the Plants a little bit funkier looking some of these are very compact and look like a nice Bush bean and some of them sort of range all over the place and Doesn’t quite look like a vine, but it doesn’t look like any legging you’ve seen some days But they are getting used in cover crop mixtures now in places where it’s really cold And they’re going to be planted late not so much because late planted cow pee when the nights are really cold They don’t really do as well, but for things that are planted earlier Especially when it’s gonna go through the heat of the summer cow peas are still frequently included in those mixtures when you can afford it oh Because they grow pretty well, so this is sorghum Sudan with cow peas underneath Pal peas aren’t cheap, and if you want to plant 30 or 40 pounds of the acre for a solid stand It costs a few bucks, and if you want to throw it in a mixture It’s not always the cheapest thing to throw in compared to clovers or other things so We think if we could grow cow pea seed here We might be able to do it and get a slightly more reasonable price for varieties that we knew would grow well in our environment You know just bringing up cow peas from Texas or Mississippi? You know how’s that gonna do in South Dakota? I don’t know It’s hard to say so we want to find some things that we know will work and that we can produce the seed and maybe get some reasonable price and add some extra seed enterprises for NP SS members Well there were some doubters and I completely understand Why there are some doubters as to whether or not? We could do this, but we already knew there were some cowpeas that we could at least get to mature Whether they are gonna be great for cover crops or really yield much Anybody’s guess, but we knew we could get some to mature because we’d grown them in a garden already and done this also University of Minnesota Had a cow pee breeding program for some years. They closed that down because there just wasn’t that much interest But they released a few varieties so It was clear. This could possibly work. Just maybe not with all those fabulous southern black-eyed pea varieties. We’d have to see So we did one of what’s sort of become our standard mode of operation we decided to get about a hundred different varieties and do a quick screen so I don’t know how many of you have ever gone to the USDA genetic resources information network website It’s really fun if you’re interested in different varieties because they have a database of all varieties USDA has for all the crops around the world in their collection Thousands and thousands and thousands of varieties of all kinds of plants So we searched through and found about a hundred so it’s 96 that looked promising from all over the world Anything that seemed like it was early blooming and maybe would stand up. Okay, not just all those crazy finding these things And we screened them in 2012 For I Guess Ark to our credit. We did get some seeds back and As a I guess the point of graciousness to the doubters most of them didn’t make seed for us out of 96 we got ourselves about 15 or 16 that made seed that was you know alive and You know at least 85 or 90 of them Or you know about 85 of them. Just really didn’t go anywhere I’m doing the math wrong there anyway most of them. Just came out Nate even bothered to bloom You know they’re just never gonna make it Day lengths is wrong. Everything’s goofy. It’s too cold, but even late planted. We got some And we sent those seeds down to Puerto Rico Over the winter to increase so we could start doing some small plot evaluations So this is what? The farm in western, Puerto Rico looks like where they did the first grow out It’s very nice to be able to do this because otherwise it would take extra years So having a winter nursery means you save a season every year to grow outs every year. That’s just awesome Flights to San Juan are only 500 bucks Here are the study sites where these small plot evaluations are going to take place so Dickinson and Carrington, North Dakota, Beresford, South Dakota and Gosh I can’t remember the name of the town right now I think Arlington perhaps just north of Madison Wisconsin so University partners all around really great folks to work with all across the region to find out regionally Can we make help you work in some way where might it go? And here’s where the farm is in western, Puerto Rico if you ever get down that way So here’s our coffee trial in 2013 I have passed or had some of our friends here pass around some of the information So you can see some of the results? For that trial we had 21 varieties. I think that year So we had a number of Czech varieties, and then these other P I numbers for the varieties from all over the world that we used And see the cow peas there in July coming along all right Here the iron, North Dakota looks sort of like a soybean with sort of pointy leaves After we evaluated them we got the data pulled together from across these different sites Pass it out to n PSAs membership Many of whom didn’t find a stat a big table of data all that useful But that’s just how sometimes comes and you just make do with what you got so we had to choose a smaller number to set forward for the following season so We sent about a dozen down to Puerto Rico again where Brian works? That’s that’s his His workplace I quite jealous. I’d be loved and work there in January later in spring it looked like this we got about 25 or 30 pounds back for each of our varieties that went out to the fields in 2014 really good yields You can see some of the differences in color and plant shape and all Lotta seed came back. This is one of the red varieties They vary quite a bit in color. We’ve got samples of most of them in the FBC Talking lounge if you want to come by and take a peek sometime. We do have one That’s it’s not a black eyed pea it’s sort of a purple eyed pea and the others have all sorts of different colors These peas full holes We learned about a new kind of bug with this project the cow pea weevil so I get all these seeds at My house in Dickenson so Brian’s ships them from Puerto Rico up to me in Dickinson They go out in my garage where I’ve got some shelves, and then you know go down in the garage and hear something What the heck is that noise? It’s coming from these bags. Open up this bag Shot full of bugs bugs are scraping out of these seeds and scraping through the plastic bag hundreds of these little black weevils in my garage This is our little friend Cowpea weevil I got hundreds of them to sweep up We learned that we can kill these little guys without having to spray the seed or put something horrible on there If we freeze them so once the seeds dry we can freeze it for a few weeks, and when the seed comes back this year Because we got cow peas down there right now We’re going to freeze it for about a month and hopefully not have any more cow pee issues or copy weevil issues these weevils are in the USA the rest of the USA Puerto Rico is in fact the US Protectorate So it’s considered our country don’t have to do any importation documents to go back and forth Anyway, these guys are in California and all across the south. I expect they could be here, too if they could overwinter we didn’t really want to bring them up here to find out so we’re gonna get these guys all dead and Not think about it again once we’re done with Puerto Rico. No more of weevils coming in my garage Here’s Pat Carr at Steve’s wingers field during the field day at the Carrington station his summer Tau PS grew a lot more slowly this year because it was really kind of chilly But at Carrington anyway plants did eventually get some size to them look pretty solid That’s organically managed by the way so one sees Steve’s winter shake his hand In Wisconsin this is what Erin Silva’s plots looked like this spring So it’s just coming along and then later on in the summer quite a riot of growth So in some parts of the Midwest cowpea looks like a pretty solid grower Some of the varieties are really pretty You know this is a plant grown for food. So there are some alternative options besides cover crops perhaps We did see some mature just fine even though it was so cold Pat car out in Dickinson, North Dakota really had trouble with it because although everyone likes to think it’s warmer out West it does sometimes get very much colder at night, and when things are dryer things growth more slowly, so we really Struggle to grow things and this year he didn’t get too much to mature most of it died before maturing So a lot of things were pretty slow slow to flower slow to set Some of the plants are very compact and upright very interesting to see And then this one a red ripper, which is one you can actually buy commercially from further south In Wisconsin it actually set seeds, but in the Dakotas it It just grows and grows it never sets seeds so for a cover crop. It’s awesome, but as far as one that we could produce Not so much, so it’d still be right where we’re at right now So I’m going to show you what all of our plots look like so you bear with me you’re gonna walk through the Carrington’s site These are all organically grown so I’m just going to cut that off because I can talk to you live Just introducing here the fact that we’re trying to find cow peas that we can grow as a cover crop and produce seed in the Dakotas, Wisconsin and the rest of the Upper Midwest some of them look pretty promising We’ve been doing small plot variety trials now with University partners and the purpose of the video is walk you through the plots so you could Evaluate them so in your hands you have the 2014 2013 table on second page which explains what data we’ve got and Now you can also see these so first great speckled pala pie from Botswana. Let’s wanna by the way southern Africa and That’s what it looks like Not the most erect variety not the earliest variety, but pretty Grothe Okay this next one is from South Africa This is a thing that Steve’s winger, and I have really enjoyed about cow peas some varieties Just put all the pods right on the top so you can How they’re doing and how they’re gonna yield because all the pods are right there for you to see Here’s one from Hungary This one isn’t quite as upright doesn’t have the pods quite as high up Davis P is a California variety because California is huge for these kind of plants It looks kind of shaggy and all yields like crazy How much thicker more robust plant overall Jackson purple? Hull is one of the pretty ones I? Think that’s the one that has purple eyed white Peas So if you see anything you like go ahead and take notes on on your table there I Wanted you to be able to understand what all of them all the plants have been doing along the way This is another purple hold one Not quite as erect, but again the pods are way up high Tanzania that’s in East Africa This one isn’t looking quite as happy quite as fast maturing butter does find further south in the region But North Dakota is perhaps a little bit tough India also grows some cow pieces varieties from India has somewhat smaller seeds I’m not sure Madras. I think is southern India. I’m not really that Geographically gifted I remember of it that one’s really tight and upright very compact That a couple more from Botswana Botswana is a dry place Cow peas do really well in hot dry places so you not surprised it come from Botswana the surprising thing is that? They can grow here too that that’s really been interesting to see The first one from but SWANA was a lot more upright and compact this one’s a little bit hairier Hairier if you will just shaggy looking and here’s red ripper again red rippers Just I mean you can’t even see the ground between the rows It’s just vining out all over the place, but not a flower to be seen So we’d put this out yep very good We had put this out hoping people would Help us evaluate these we will have more fuel days this summer, and hope you come so further evaluations with cow peas Eight varieties are down in Puerto Rico right now. Just getting planted should be getting that seed back for a rush planting in May In 2015 our partners will evaluate these eight varieties in the Dakotas and Wisconsin so we will have more field days and more data And we’re gonna try to figure out Which is the best ones most likely to be both cover crop use and seed production for that cover crop use? We all have more field days another meeting in the fall we’re probably going to put out some more videos so people can help evaluate these even if they can’t get to the field days because We really want farmer input all along the way to make sure we have varieties that you really want to grow We do wonder about other aspects of this some of these cow peas are looking pretty decent now some of the numbers you see are Pulled down a little bit because we had a lot of zeros from the Dickinson site this year for yield but cow pee yields have Been varying between 800 pounds of the acre up to about 1500 pounds of the acres so some of them yield pretty well You can eat them. You can eat the leaves you can eat the pie you can eat the seeds so you know maybe some of these would be good in the garden if nothing else and You are invited to take part all along the way let us know what you think the quite the question was do we know anything about nitrogen fixation with these peas we don’t but the the Wisconsin site Aaron Silva has rated them for nodule formation and those ratings are included on the data sheets that we just passed out so if you read I believe the rating is for a Lower number has more nodules a higher number was was Was less good because number one was the best But yeah some of those data are there and all we have is preliminary data at this point But some looked pretty likely to set nodules, okay What was the row spacing for planting these were all planted out? I think at 30 inch rows? Mostly because they’re experimental And for seed production it would probably be you know wider rose like that for organic growers For cover crop use of course would be planted a lot more tightly How would we use the these with other crops Well the way farmers are using these and we’re working off of what other folks are doing is why we decided to work on these Radish and cow peas both are part of multi-species cover crop mixtures that are being planted all over the region radish especially for cool-season Parts of growth and the cow peas especially for for the hot part of the season so if you’re planting Say annual forage or some cover for going through midsummer Frequently cow peas would be a part of that sort of a mix, and if you’re planting something later we’re especially going to be a graze or Continued growth on into as late as November of RAD should be part of those kind of mixtures And if you want to grow these for the garden to eat because both of them make really good food Daikon radish gets planned late June, and you get monstrous roots to harvest in the fall and cowpeas you’d plant as soon as you’re escaping the Frost’s are probably early June and pick whenever

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