Renewable Farming

How WakeUP can enhance cover crop rooting and winter survival

Winter wheat growers have known for years that a fall foliar spray of WakeUP accelerates the flow of sugars and other nutrients to roots. the surge of nutrients accelerates growth of roots and multiplies the mycorrhizal filaments which colonize roots.

Cereal rye aerially seeded into soybeans

The same principle applies to cereal rye and other fall-seeded cover crops. A burst of root growth is critical in the short, cool weeks available to fall-germinating covers. in the nearby photo, cereal rye is emerging after soybean harvest… along with a few volunteer soybeans. This photo was taken Oct. 14, about 20 days after the rye was flown on over standing soybeans. 

Healthier rooting translates to greater survival of overwintering crops like cereal rye. 

Other beneficial microbes benefit from the flow of root exudates. USDA-ARS researcher Dr. Robert Kremer showed how each kind of cover crop stimulates a different spectrum of bacterial species. That’s why experienced cover-crop growers favor blends of grasses, legumes and brassica crops.

At our research farm, we spray tillage radish and legume blends with WakeUP Spring plus about a gallon per acre of 28% nitrogen, plus a gallon of Sea Crop mineral solution.

The visual difference in top growth shows up in about a week.  The photo below shows the size of our radish on research strips in early October.

Earlier research by agronomist Jim Porterfield, Arise Research in Illinois, showed that sugar content of tillage radish roots increased sharply following a spray of WakeUP and SEA-90, a sea salt solution. 

Our tillage radish cover crop, following sweetcorn. We also seed radish following spring wheat.