Verified FBN Member (MT)
Agronomy

Crop rotation in Montana

So, dryland wheat operation but the old wheat/fallow rotation just doesn't pay the bills anymore. Just started dabbling with some yellow peas, and wondering what guys are doing for rotations and fertility. I've got some sandier ground with lower fertility and I'd like the rotation to also improve my soil health

Verified FBN Member (MT)

We have been doing lentils and cover crops for several years with good results. The cover crop will take time to see the return but I believe in the idea. Lentils don’t take much moisture out of the profile so we use them in rotation and can usually constant crop with them. They also have a fairly low input cost

Verified FBN Member (MT)

I'm not completely sold on cover crops unless you have cows

Verified FBN Member (MT)

I don’t entirely disagree. We graze ours and do it mostly for the manure as that’s the only realistic way to get it on the dry land. Tillage radish really does seem to work some magic though. If you’re doing peas and rotate some lentils in I think you’d be happy with that

Verified FBN Member (MT)

They probably do help soil health but they need to cashflow, that's why I wish I could get set up with someone to mob graze it

Verified FBN Member (MT)

Check with your local NRCS office about cover crops. You can enter into some programs that pay very well just to plant them. And if you can graze it, even better

Verified FBN Member (ND)

We farm in Northwest North Dakota and have a variety of soil types. On our better ground we try to rotate yellow peas in and on our sandier dry ground we prefer lentils. In our experience, lentils seem to prefer the sandier ground with better drainage (granted that is if we receive timely rains). I will say though that our Durum Wheat does better when following yellow peas than any other crop in our rotation (lentils and canola).

Verified FBN Member (MT)

Thanks, I appreciate the feedback, I'm going to try some lentils and peas, probably seed the peas as early as I can

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