Roller Crimping Cereal Rye

Rolling and crimping cereal rye is a strategy for cover crop termination in no-till systems, but the timing of rolling and crimping is crucial for success. Now is a good time to monitor the grow stage of your cereal rye. Rye should be rolled when plants reach anthesis (flowering). At this point the rye plants are mature enough that the stems will be “crimped” when flattened to the soil surface, crushing the cell walls of the stems. Rolling the rye too soon, prior to anthesis, will not kill the immature plants and the rye can “pop back up” and continue to grow. In Alburgh, VT, cereal rye planted in mid to late September will typically reach anthesis around the end of May or early June depending on weather conditions.

To learn more about roller crimping, check out the Roller Crimping Cover Crops in Vermont: Benefits and Risks factsheet.

For more information about no-till cropping systems, read our Guide to Implementing No-till Cropping Systems in the Northeast.

As part of the 2020 Grain Growers Webinar Series, Dr. Erin Silva of the University of Wisconsin, Plant Pathology, gave a presentation on Cover Crop Based No-Till and Interseeding Techniques. View the recording of that webinar here to learn more about roller crimping cereal rye for no-till production systems.

Cereal rye at anthesis. Photo credit: Dana Jokela (Iowa State University)
10 ft I & J Crop Roller Crimper. Photo credit: I & J Manufacturing

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