Breaking Down Nutrient Cycling in Cover Crops

February 22, 2024

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Is my cover crop tying up nutrients for my cash crop? When can I take a nitrogen credit for my cover crops? How does cover crop termination timing impact nutrient release? This presentation will go through some of these FAQs and explore what research says about the impacts of cover crops on nutrient cycling.

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Video Transcript

Welcome everybody, virtually. I'm Madelyn. I'm a conservation agronomist educator based in Jackson. Just got started here this year, and I'll be presenting with Christina Curell. You want to introduce yourself? Good morning. I'm Christina Curell. I'm the statewide cover crops and soil health educator. I started many years ago and I am actually housed in Lake County. But again, I cover statewide, looking at cover crops and soil health for all commodities. Okay. So first we just want to remind that MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. This means that the resources and the information that we share is for everybody. The questions that we promise to address. Today, we are a few questions that we get pretty frequently when we're talking about cover crops. If you're confused by these questions, that's okay. We'll get into why these questions come up and maybe give a satisfying answer. Maybe not, but it'll be interesting. One question is, are nutrients getting tied up by my cover crops? Then the other question being, can I reduce my nitrogen rate if I'm planting cover crops? But to get into that, we get back to the basics. So I'll let Christina explain this nice figure. Yeah. So when we're looking at cover crops and nitrogen, there's a couple of areas that we want to talk about. And that's going to be the carbon cycle and then the nitrogen cycle. They are a moving target, both the carbon and nitrogen. This is a very basic, this is actually a draft version of a new carbon cycle graphic and you are the first group to ever see it because it is a draft buddy. You can see there's a lot of moving parts when we're thinking about the carbon cycle, but one of the ones that we really want to to key when we're talking about, about cover crops and what they do for nitrogen is kind of that label carbon. Now that lab biocarbon is the correct term for microbial biomass, or in the past we have called that active carbon. But this is the carbon that is actively breaking down. And this is what we really look at when we're looking at cover crops and how they are affecting our soil and giving us nitrogen. As you can see that there's just so much going on right along with the carbon we have the nitrogen cycle. Now, the nitrogen cycle, this is the, there's so much going on. A lot of our nitrogen that we get in our soil is actually being pulled from the air. Very small parts of it is actually that biomass that's breaking down. But as you can see, when we're looking at nitrogen and soil, we are getting nitrogen from all over, specifically from the air. That's where the most of it comes from. But we do get some from, from storms, we get some, a very small percentage from legumes and other biomass that are breaking down. And we're going to really hone into those because when we're looking at cover crops, when we're looking at nitrogen inputs, the nitrogen inputs for cover crops are primarily from that biomass breaking down. And then those plants such as legumes and even some of our grasses that have these, these nodules, they had that relationship with some of our microorganisms that can pull nitrogen from the air, put it in the roots of storage, and allow for those root nodulations. We're going to look at some of that, but we're really, really going to focus in on when we're talking about cover crops is a carbon and nitrogen ratio and that biomass is breaking down. Yeah, so we want to show both of these cycles because we just want to remember that both of these cycles are really closely linked. So can you see my mouse? Yes, we're really going to be zeroing in on this cycle here, from organic nitrogen into plant uptake. The two processes that we'll be talking about a lot is mineralization and immobilization. Mineralization being organic nitrogen going into plant available forms like ammonia and then into nitrate. Then immobilization, which is when nitrogen gets locked back into organic nitrogen. What impacts how quickly nitrogen is released from your cover crop? You grow a cover crop, it's either pulling up nitrogen from the soil and locking it into organic nitrogen or it's fixing its own nitrogen. What impacts the timing of the release of nitrogen. And there's a bunch of things. There's a bunch of components that go into nitrogen release timing. One of them being, of course, environmental conditions. That's going to be the case for all biological processes. I'm not going to get into that. Also, if you till your cover crop biomass under, that's going to impact how quickly nitrogen released also. Not really going to talk about that, but what we will get into is, like Christina said, this biomass quality defined as carbon to nitrogen ratio. Then a little bit we'll get into also how termination timing and planting timing are going to affect nitrogen release from your cover crock. Just want to draw a quick parallel here because when I say carbon to nitrogen ratio, sometimes I hear farmers, people recoil ratios get really complicated. I just want to reminder that something like forage quality analysis, which more people are probably familiar with, is you're testing for protein and then fiber here, right? So those two things, along with other factors, give you a good idea of how of the quality of your forage for your livestock. Very similar to the cover crop quality. Here we have a test in this case, Midwest Labs, and they test for total nitrogen and total carbon protein. Total protein is just total nitrogen multiplied by 6.25 It's the same test here. Fiber is similar, is very related to total carbon. Though the test is a little bit different. But in this case we're testing quality of forage for soil organisms, not for livestock. In this case, we're looking for forage quality for our soil organisms. Carbon to nitrogen ratio, on average, it of course, ranges across organisms, but on average is going to be about eight to one. When I say eight to one, I mean about eight parts carbon to every one part nitrogen. We can see here and back on this test, you've got percent nitrogen and percent carbon. Percent carbon is pretty stable across, these are all different kinds of cover crop biomass samples across all plants. You're going to be around 40% carbon. That's relatively stable. What's going to change is how many parts of nitrogen you have. That's going to range pretty significantly, which is going to give you a pretty significant range of carbon to nitrogen. In this case, we had some testing ten parts of carbon to one part nitrogen, while some were testing 24 parts carbon to one part nitrogen. What is this range? What are the implications of having different ratios? Here I put on the spectrum, soil microbes being about eight parts carbon to one part nitrogen. On the other end of the spectrum is something like rye straw which is going to be 82 parts carbon to one nitrogen. A pretty large range. What lots of research has showed is that the ideal microbe diet is going to be around 26 to one. What happens on either side of this dividing line on one side, On the lower side we see nitrogen mineralization. When there's more nitrogen, for every part carbon, you're going to get release of nitrogen. On the other side of the spectrum, you're going to have nitrogen immobilization, which again, is nitrogen getting locked up into organic form. I just want to pause right now. Are there any questions that we should talk about, Jenna, or should we keep going? There has been nothing in the Q and A or chat yet, Just a reminder to everybody, If you do have questions, please throw them in the Q and A or the chat, and our presenters will answer them. We'll throw them out to them. Sounds good. We'll just keep plowing ahead. It's early to be talking about words, early to be talking about the nitrogen cycle. But that's okay. Okay, where do cover crops fall on this spectrum? We took some samples this past fall, right before a winter kill situation, and we found range again of carbon to nitrogen ratio, a range of cover crop qualities, and the numbers that we found align pretty well with what you can expect. We have anywhere from Austrian winter pea, which is very close to what the average soil microbe carbon to nitrogen ratio is here, to our annual rye grass which is 25 parts carbon to one part nitrogen still within that mineralization zone here, but getting very close to crossing over to immobilization. One thing I want to point out over here, Madeline is again, a lot of this depends on the plant itself, the lifecycle of the plant, how close you are to maturity when you terminate, and also the weather that affects it. These are very general numbers, but notice there's fluctuation from season to season. We just can't go out and say this is what it's going to be. You would need to take tests just to make sure where you're at at that time. That's why it's really tricky for us to do some of this work and to give you great recommendations, because it does vary from season to season, and day to day. Yeah. Madeline, we have a question. Where does sorghum fall in this chart? Yeah. Just like Christina said, it can vary. Sorghum sometimes does cross that immobilization line, depending on what stage it's at and how mature it is and how much drought there's been. But generally, especially because it's winter kill, you're planting it probably late in the summer and it'll die in the fall and doesn't get to any stage where it would cross that line. You're going to see it closer to around oats in between oats and annual rye grass generally. Again, if you can cut it before it gets really lignity. When it becomes brown, when it pushes past, it gets a lot of that carbon in it. And when it gets really tall, then it's really is going to push over more to that straw side. When it starts turning brown, it's cut at the appropriate time. It's at its mature peak, you cut it. We use it a lot, I will, to build up soil for this reason. But we cut often if we want to use it to build up soil. The numbers that we saw do fall with the separation of legumes in general are going to have lower carbon to nitrogen ratio. Again, lower carbon to nitrogen ratio means higher quality, then brassicas slightly higher, then grasses are going to be, have lower, higher carbon to nitrogen ratio, which is generally considered lower quality. Right? Okay. Now we can get into a little bit of the questions that we promise to talk about our nutrients getting tied up when we're planting cover crops. Christina, you want to describe what's happening in this picture? Yeah. What we're seeing is that they are getting tied up some nutrients. This is a corn, a picture of a corn. And a lot of us, we'll talk about the fact that we are seeing some stunted corn and corn yield corn. Yes, when we follow cereal because it's taken so much of that nitrogen to break it, break that carbon, we just, we're seeing a reduction and corn yields. So what we do is we really do advocate if you do something like cereal rye prior to corn, you need to really think about when you terminate that cereal rye. We want you to terminate it a little bit earlier so that there's time for that nitrogen or that carbon to be broken down before the corn comes in and needs that nitrogen. So we're seeing that if we wait too long to kill that cereal ride, it's actually using all of the nitrogen. To break it down and not allowing the corn to use that nitrogen when it needs it. So yes, there are corn yield drags. It may not be every year, but we are seeing across the region that there are some issues with corn falling cereal rye. Now, we that being said, we're not saying don't do it, you just have to manage it and be prepared to do just a little bit more management. But it is doable. It's just a simple it's as simple as terminating it two weeks before you plant corn. Yeah. There are a few different factors that could be affecting this corn. And we saw this a lot this past spring because it being so dry, definitely drought has to do with it. When the rise is still growing, still using water, and that moisture is really important. Terminating early can be crucial. Again, this corn can recover from this. But we are seeing some consistent yield drag happening following cereal rye planting corn and especially planting green into it. But Christina said there's ways to manage it and we can get a little bit more into this. But I just want to emphasize what could be happening is the nitrogen immobilization. The microbes are working extra hard to break down this rye biomass. They are immobilizing nitrogen or locking nitrogen up into organic nitrogen. Now that nitrogen isn't going away, right, it's just getting locked up into an organic form that may or may not be released later. So we can talk about release time again, mineralization, organic nitrogen, breaking down and getting released into the plant. Available form here is what nitrogen looks like, being released from a hairy vetch, a low d N cover crop. You see when corn is planted and the Harry betch was terminated at planting, you see an immediate spike here. This is cumulative nitrogen release. This is nitrogen released from Harry betch when it was killed. You see an immediate spike of nitrogen from that Harry Betch, then it levels out. There's not that much more after about 80 kilograms per hy, which would be, I'm not sure what would be pounds breaker. But again, the actual values are going to vary a lot for how much nitrogen you get. But as corn is growing, you get an immediate release. Now with something like cereal rye. I like this graph because it really well that immobilization here in the open triangles, in the open circles. This is the nitrogen being released from cereal rye. A higher carbon to nitrogen ratio cover crop. At planting the cereal rye was terminated. The corn was probably planted green. You get a small increase, a small release of nitrogen from the cereal rye. Then if you look at just above ground, some of that nitrogen is getting locked back up at about four weeks. Not a time where you want to be locking up nitrogen for corn. I like this too because it shows below ground root biomass. You see even more nitrogen getting locked up. But then it comes back, it comes back to positive. It does end up releasing a little bit more. But this time period can be pretty crucial for your corn establishment. Not necessarily a time that you want it to be locking up nutrients. But we're not trying to scare you out of planting cereal rye. There are a few ways that Christina mentioned to mitigate that immobilization. You can get into those a little bit deeper. Christina, you want when we're looking at using something like cereal rye or even other grasses that we want to burn down in the spring. We really have to look at when we're going to terminate that. This is whether you spray it, whether you do lighting corporation, but you really do need to terminate that ten to 14 days. That ten to 14 days gives those microbes enough time to start breaking that down so that the nitrogen could be released. So it's not tied up. You know, you can fudge on it. We do see some times where we fudged on it and we see some other impacts that may be happening from other reasons. Really that ten to 14 days is a safety net for you as a grower, to make sure that you get everything you need. Now, when you're using cover crops, you still do need to feed your crops again, that nitrogen is not being released when your corn needs it. And even Even if you use something like a legume that would release a little bit more earlier. We just, we're not sure. So we still are going to recommend that you use starter nitrogen. We're not telling you that if you use cover crops, you don't need any other, you know, nitrogen added, you still should be using some sort of starter. We have a lot of research that shows this, that you do need to put some starter out there if you use cover crops, we are going to encourage you to be vigilant on your soil sampling to make sure that the nitrogen is there when your crop needs it. You can actually add some legumes to that mix. But again, you've got to think about termination, When are you terminating it? That's really key to get that CNN ratio is termination time. Even if you add legumes to the mix, you still need to go out and take some soil samples because is that nitrogen being released when you need it for that corn. You really need to look at when you are use the legumes also to put in those starter diitrogenda. We don't want you to forget that step in management. It's really important that you do that. Just because you use cover crops to help with your nutrient cycle does not mean you don't need to add fertilizer. In some cases, you may have to add more upfront to help to break that biomass down a little bit faster so that your corn can use it later on. So really be vigilant on that whole whole nitrogen, whole starter regiment and make sure that you do it right. We haven't, I don't think there's any research has shown that you can reduce that starter there, probably some out there, but we don't have any that we could definitely say this is going to make it so you don't have to add starter. You really should do that still. This is important if you're transitioning, transitioning into cover crops before you have that build up of soil health, that build up of biology that can be better at handling residue and breaking it down and releasing that nitrogen. That starter is especially important in transition, also in a dry spring, if you have a dry spring, you really need to be vigilant with that starter and make sure you get it out there. You can try irrigation a little bit if you have that. But a dry land, you really need to be aware of that and add that starter on your corn before you get too far. We got one question here. Well, we have a couple, but one of them fits back in with all of your ratios here you were talking about. And it was a follow up to the sorghum question we had earlier. Would they be better with a control burn on sorghum? Better as burning. It would avoid immobilization. Maybe you burn it, you're releasing a lot of, a lot of carbon. You're really changing the composition of that plant biomass, the microbes they want. Plant biomass, even low quality, right? But again, as far as we've seen, sorgum isn't the highest risk of immobilization, if that's what you're worried about. If you're worried about tying it up has a carbon di, nitrogen ratio compared to other grasses, especially because it's dying off, generally burning it would totally change the composition. Probably cutting it or chopping it and just letting it lay there when we're looking at biomass. And biomass will break down into carbon will break down, and that's what we want it to do. We have seen where we can get substantial amount of biomass if it's cut regularly. If you plant your sor gum and you're using it to build soil. And this is some work that we've done in annual or perennial crops. If you're using it to build soil health, you go ahead and you plant, you cut it several times. Where we're planting it in June and July, we can get two to three cuttings out of it and we cut it right before it heads out. We go in and cut it, it's going to come back and then we re, cut it again. We are seeing tremendous amount of carbon build up and microorganisms love it because that's what you're feeding them. So just cut it at the right time. And then the last cutting, we're cutting it low. I mean, we're scalping it because it's gonna die anyway. So we want all of that biomass and even the root biomass is really good. We have seen it work tremendous in fields that have been, I'm not going to say abuse, but because of the management style of the crop being grown, the soil takes a lot of abuse. That surg in Sudan has just done some tremendous amount of building up that soil by managing it. You answered that question. You got to his point already. Thank you. That's a great point, Christina, is we're not even really talking about root biomass and that carbon to nitrogen ratio down there just because above ground is low hanging fruit. As far as research goes, observation. But that's a different world and there's lots of good stuff coming out about how different root qualities change the effect you have. But that's another presentation maybe. But I just want to, I won't spend too much time on this figure because I've already the grapes. But getting back to that, like adding legumes to a mix and how that can change your carbon to nitrogen ratio and change the release. Then also termination timing and why that's important. If we look first at this red line, that's probably cereal rye but could be any of those grasses you just after tiller anytime before a joint. This graph is showing that there's a net positive release of plant available nitrogen. That's what the PAN is. There's a net positive release very slight, but there is a slight positive release anytime after joint. You're going to see a net negative impact on plant available nitrogen. That would indicate immobilization here. That would indicate tie up. Now just adding 25% legumes, you're avoiding that tie up almost entirely. You can get away with a nobody. You can get away with a very late termination. This is from Oregon State. Their dates are going to be a little bit different, their season is a little bit different, but just looking at relative changes, adding 75% legume avoids that problem entirely. You get net positive release of plant available nitrogen, and then of course just legumes you get lots of release of nitrogen. Something to look at here too, is between vegetative growth of legumes and the bud stage of legumes, you get a big jump of available nitrogen. Just like in cereals, terminating early is going to help help you avoid any nutrient tie up for legumes terminating late is going to give you lots more nitrogen. I think we're about to get into that a little bit more. There's a question about doing that, About what type of legume, whether it's crimson clover or white clover. That's a management, you need to manage crimson and white longer. Crimson is actually going to germinate and grow a lot faster than white clover. So you really need to think about what you want out of that clover. Do you want it to winter kill? Do you, do you want to have to terminate it in the spring? How many years you're going to use it and then availability from some of the research I've seen over the years. If you're looking at nitrogen, crimson does edge out white clover. But think of the plant itself. White clover or small. We'd like using that in like a living most where Crimson gets taller. So there's more biomass in that crop. So if you're trying to decide which one would be better, think of it like that. Which one is going to be taller, which one is going to be shorter, and how are you going to manage it? Okay. Just because we've been talking a lot about this window following soybeans prior to corn and the effect of cereal rye on corn. Just a reminder that because it can be really easy to want to give up on cereal rye prior to corn, but it's really a lost opportunity of sealing up a leaky faucet. And that leaky faucet would be all of those soil nitrates that are left following soy beans, soybean residue. Most of that nitrogen that's following soy beans is in that residue. Because it has a very low carbon to nitrogen ratio. It decomposes quickly. Right? Having something planted in the ground, like cereal rye, can take advantage of those leftover nitrates. Maybe it's not available. You can manipulate it. Maybe it's available for your corn, maybe it's not. But you are preventing that nitrate loss and holding it in the field. Just something to think about. But now we can get into, can I cut my nitrogen? Hey, Madeline, we have another question for you. If ideal micro feeding is 2061, shouldn't we want more carbon than rye is providing? That might be in reference to the fact that the annual rye grass was about 25 in our sample. It was the ideal number. I don't love calling it the ideal microbe diet. That's something that's popped up. I think more emphasizing just that line between immobilization and mineralization. Microbes are going to be happy with anything that you give them. It's really the outcome that is ideal for growing crops or not. But that's one explanation for that, 25 to one for the annual rye grass that was taken in the fall. If we took it again after it started growing this spring before maybe an expected burndown, that ratio could be totally different. It could absolutely cross that ideal microbe diet line. I don't want the takeaway from this to be that you're looking for 26 to one for every cover crop that you grow. That is a threshold that we should be aware of. I guess I answer. I believe so. Thank you. Now we can get into whether we can reduce our nitrogen rate. Christina, how do you feel about this? Can we reduce our nitrogen rate following cover crops? This is actually, I'm going to talk about this picture. This is actually a winner in Triticale up in Charlvoie. This is a farm that I've worked with a lot over the years. The question is, can we do that? We don't know. It all depends. There is so much that goes going on. Does work, does not work. We want to emphasize that when you use cover crops, we do know that you're putting carbon, you're putting nutrients in the soil, but it's so variable. You still need to go, like we said earlier, and you need to be vigilant. You need to take soil samples, you need to look at your crops. Get out there and see how are, were they growing? Does it look like we have a nutrient deficiency? If we do, then then you need to change and you need to do things accordingly to give your crops those nutrients you need. I understand. Eventually, those nutrients will be released from the cover crops, but it may not be right when those crops need it. So the question is always, we don't know. I appreciate that facial expression. That's kind of how I feel a lot. Then how do we do that? What does cover crops give us for nitrogen? What we want to think about is we want to look at two ways that cover crops can impact the nitrogen in the following crops. And one of them is nitrogen credits, the other one is nitrogen. Can we take that nitrogen recycling and make it a tighter cycle so that when the nitrogen is being released from our cover crops can uptake and use it. Let's talk about nitrogen credit. This is a beautiful picture of crimson, crimson clover. Sorry, crimson y. This is crimson clover. How would you grow this clover? For nitrogen, it's really important to understand where the nitrogen is coming from. Nitrogen is coming actually from the biomass. Even in most of the nitrogen that we get is going to be the biomass. So we really want to manage that biomass. And one of the biggest things to do for clovers and legumes, again, it's a plant. Earlier the earlier we plant, the more biomass we have. Now if this is an instance where you just have this, and this is a picture over in the thumb by Phil Cats. He took this picture. This was a fall cover crop and he's probably not going to go in. This farmer is not going to go in and terminate. It is going to win or kill. But this is a lot of a biomass produced if If this is planted in the spring or the fall and we're using it to reclaim land, we would want to go in right now and we would want to kill this clover. Whether we burn it down, whether we go in and cut it and clip it, I don't care. But this is when it's flowered, it's budding. Remember Madeline said earlier? Clovers, when it buzz, when it has the most biomass, right before this stage, we would want to clip it and terminate it right at that point. Now, if we, if it's something that we would want to use for like in the spring, if it pops up in the spring and we want to get that bank for a buck, we would go in and we would terminate it. Right then we would terminate it late. Right before we plant. This is one of the ways that we can grow nitrogen using legumes. Now I know a lot of people we love legumes because it's, it fixes nitrogen from the air, it's going to give out nitrogen. Understand? Even those nodules underground in the roots, it's still not as much nitrogen as in that biomass. Biomass is really important. This is for all crops. We manage them different, but biomass is the most important. So when you are deciding to plant legumes and pay that extra money because the seed is more expensive, You want to be thinking about, do I have a wide enough window to make it pay, right? Do I have enough of a window to plant it early and terminate it late? So I'm getting the benefits that I'm looking for. Because if there's other options that might be better. And remember, if you're, if you're doing something like a leg, and we plant those earlier than we would a grass in the year to get that maturity that we want, even if it's over winters, you can't plant this late in the year, it's got to be planted early. The other side of this question, yes, you can grow your own nitrogen with legumes, but the goal also is to tighten that nitrogen cycle, right? To make sure the nutrients that you're, the fertilizer that you're applying is staying in the field so you have it available. Something that I just want to emphasize. Something like radish that grows very quickly in the fall is going to significantly decrease any fall nitrogen leaching, whereas cereal rye, it does grow a bit in the fall, but then you're going to get a lot of spring growth because it overwinters. That's going to reduce spring nitrogen leaching. An interesting solution if you are trying to tighten your nitrogen cycle and keep those nutrients in the field for you to use is something like a rye and radish mix. This study here, I think was in Pennsylvania, showed a reduction in both fall and spring nitrogen leaching by 80% That can be pretty big. Something that grows very quickly in the fall and then having something that will hold those nutrients, because the radish will likely winter kill something that will hold those nutrients. The radish. And I will say we've been trying some research for many years and looking at is there a way because radish, as we know, once it warmed up, it has already happened this year. Because warm up so early, the radish dies down. The nitrogen's dying, of course, is moving up, volatilizing in the airs or something we can plant that's going to grab that nitrogen as it's dying, and decaying, and volatilizing and hold it. We haven't really found a good way of doing that yet, but that's something that a lot of farms try to do by planting in this rye radish mix. So hopefully if it's warming up fast enough, this rye is starting to grow in the spring trying to germinate, needing some of those nutrients. Maybe maybe we can feed that rye with the radish as it, as apoltizing're but actually this year that radish is probably winter killing. But that's this year, right? Yeah. Yep. We have a question related to what you guys are talking about right now. If you're frost seeding clover into winter wheat, when after wheat harvest, should they terminate the clover to maximize N for sugar beets planted the next spring. Like terminate when should they terminate that clover in the fall to maximize N for sugar beets the next spring or is it fall? Well, I mean again, it goes back to your management. If you're going to terminate in the fall, are you are you going to put another cover crap out there? Before that, are you going to intercede some cereal rye or something in there to hold it there? It's there. I've seen it both ways. Some people that they actually put in another cover crop that they think it's going to have more biomass, more nitrogen in the spring. Others just leave it and let it go if you don't want to add that cover crop, especially in the fall, if it grows to a maturity in the weather's right again, click of the weather and you can clip it and come back for the spring. You're actually doing giving more biomass. I think if I'm planting sugar beets, the thing that I'm probably most worried about is having a good seed bed. In that case, yes, you want to be thinking about nitrogen release, but you also maybe want to make sure you're terminating early enough that you're not planting into high residue. It's possible, but that it takes adjustments. It takes practice to be able to plant those beats into the residue that you might get. With a longer spring. Especially a warm spring like this is probably, you might be getting a little overwhelmed with clover. Yeah, you should have pretty good nitrogen following even an earlier terminated clover. Lots to consider. There's a lot and we're not even talking about insects and stuff and other pests. When you're thinking about cover crops and we're talking about nitrogen and what termination do you need to think about pests? Because they do harbor pests. They help some of our pests over winter. So we have to really think about that too. But yes, the same principle following wheat into sugar beets. If you want nitrogen, let it grow for as long as you're comfortable with, but just make sure you're not compromising that seed bed, I guess, okay? But if you are considering reducing your nitrogen, just a reminder, don't do it on the whole farm. T test your nitrogen rates. Test that reduction first. If you are looking for assistance and how to set up some kind of on farm trial, you should contact your local extension educator. Happy to help you set up strips and look at the results and make sure that that reduction is viable for you to get a good crop. My comments on yeah, the test strips are so important because once the plant starts growing, if we don't give it the food it needs, if we don't give it the nitrogen it needs, it probably will never catch back up. It's really hard to catch it back up. So we want to start correctly. We want to make sure that when we use cover crops, we're not hindering the following for your crop. We don't want to hinder that yield. Test strips are really important to do to, there are lots of stories of farmers in Michigan and elsewhere who have reduced their nitrogen even without growing significant legumes. Just keep that lens on of those are probably long term systems and there may be other practices, things like manure application or no things that might also be affecting the nitrogen cycling. You just taking everything with a grain of salt and starting small, building up. Okay. We're good on that, Christina. We're good. We got this is just a wrap up slide and then we've got a little bit more. But just to summarize quickly, when you've got cereal rye prior to corn, that's generally when we see that nitrogen tie up and that yield, especially when you're first starting out, you want to make sure you're terminating that cereal early, ten to 14 days early. And then starter can also help. Then when you are thinking about a nitrogen credit, make sure you're testing strips. Generally having low carbon to nitrogen ratio mixes or just straight legumes will help you get to that goal. Then if you do have legumes, give them as much time as you can to let them grow. Miss anything, Christina? No. We cannot stress enough. If you're using cover crops for your nitrogen or any other nutrients, you really need to manage it correctly and take your soil test test those hard if you really want to get the best bang for your bucks. And cover crops and nutrients. Manure organic, Yeah. All of the other good stuff, Okay. If this feels overwhelming or some of these suggestions or management tips have piqued your interest, but you want to hear more. Midwest Cover Crop Council has great resource in each state that's in the Midwest. Cover Crop Council has produced cover crop recipes that are written by Michigan state educators, but also informed by research across Michigan and farmers who are planting cover crops in Michigan. Very local information about how to manage cover crops to get that bang for your buck. All of these tips that we've talked about and more can be found in these recipes and they're available for free at the Midwest Cover Crop Council website. And just spell it out. We can end here for now if there's questions or we could keep yelling. So we do have a question. At least one. Give me a second. The first one is, what's a better option for soil health, Crimson or white clover. And should they consider interceding it? Christina? Yes. Okay. Yeah. So I have feelings on that. I've been playing with that for a while. It all goes back to management style. Do you want a winter kill? Do you want something that's going to overkill for soil? How? I mean to keep, we like to keep living roots in the ground as long as we can. So crimson clover for the most part, not every year, but the most part. In Michigan, we do classify it as an annual and winter kills. So if we're looking at to build up the soil health over time, you white clover is good. However, crimson clover has a lot more biomass. It's a bigger plant. It's got a tremendous root system to it. So if you want something quick and you need it for just one season, then I would go crimson clover. Also white clover takes a long time to get established. It's not a quick growing plant. And in an annual system, I definitely would go crimson clover just because of the biomass production and you're bang for your buck early. But in all cases, when we're looking at a legume, you've got to make sure you inoculate that before you plant it. If you don't inoculate it, you will not get the stand that you want. Management is the key on that. If you want to use it to build soil health, you've got to manage it correctly. If you can clip it, clip it, let it regrow. I mean, the more that we can keep these things growing, the better off we are. Yeah, Inoculation to some of these mixes have some legumes that our fields haven't seen yet and they require inoculation of bacteria that is definitely not in the soil. When you are buying mixes with legumes in them, just check with your seed dealer about that inoculant and if it's pretreated, if it's something that you might have to add as these mixes get more complex and we get more seed available, that's becoming more important. Adding your inoculant after you purchase it is always a better bet than buying it pre inoculated. Just because of management, the inoculate has to be kept in the correct temperature and storage. So sometimes buying it not inoculated and you do it yourself will just be better. You'll be better off. Perfect. Well, thank you guys. We appreciate it. It looks like we're going to run tight on time here now because I'm going to send out have them fill out the survey link. So if you have any final comments you wanted to make, feel free to make them. I'm going to give you each about 30 seconds. I think that's it. I feel good. Christina. These are just these are planning green. Some different ways that we've done planting green. I'm more than happy to talk to you about different ways of farmers have integrated this successfully in their system. Madeline would love to talk to you, Jenna. Monica, we all would love to talk to you about how you can make this work. These are just some different this is a drill, different things that were used to plant green.