It is time for those that are doing or thinking about doing in-crop cover crop application (air or high clearance ground app) to have your seed lined up and communications with your custom applicator. Some have received good rainfall recently and with the crops moving along, it might be a year where in-crop seeding could be more successful. As reminder we are working with live seeds and in-c rop seeding still needs some moisture to get started and eventually some sun to continue to grow.
We seem to have a little better success overall in standing corn or soybeans that are in 30" rows that open up quicker. It also seems we can start seeding in standing corn a little earlier than soybeans. Some will start this week or next in corn for Cetnral IL. In soybeans, it is best to start at the very first hint of leaf yellowing.
To be more successful with in-crop seeding we like to use a multi-species mix (especially seeds that do better seeded on top of the ground; annual ryegrass, rapeseed, clovers, radish) to help spread risk. We would also recommend a higher seeding rate for better success. You should also consider the herbicides that were applied to your cash crop to make sure that there were no applications that would be a concern to the cover crop species you are sonsidering, especially a late application. You may have to alter your cover crop species or application method depending on your hervicide situation.
In-crop seeding spreads out the work load compared to after harvest seeding during a busy harvest schedule. To get the benefits of cover crops you don't necessarily need a solid stand, but rather a "good scattering." We have several aerial applicators and high clearance machines in the area if you need contact information, please contact one of our representatives.
-Brian Wieland, Saddle Butte Ag