The radish serves as one of many cover crop options for a no-till operation. Known originally as forage radishes, they have large strong taproots and exhibit many cover crop benefits:
- Break up soil compaction at a deep level
- Capture and recycle excess nutrients
- Decompose before planting from winterkill
- High production of organic matter
- Aerate the soil
- Quick canopy to control soil erosion
- Hold down winter annual weeds
- Compatible with other cover crops in mixtures
- Earlier planting date
Two of the most popular types of forage radish are the Daikon radish and one bred specifically for the cover crop market, the Tillage Radish. These are typically fast-germinating plants that have a characteristically large tuber. In university trials that incorporated Tillage Radish, corn yields were up an average of 11% and soybean yields increased by 10%.
For more information on the Tillage Radish, go to www.tillageradish.com. For the Daikon variety, go to www.smithseed.com.