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Companion crops and Rollers Gail Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 7:51am Saturday, December 19, 2015 - 9:33pm 4

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Thanks, sorry it took so long to get back to you. I am in the middle of harvest and it has been a little hectic. This gets over my head pretty fast, but i have a friend who is wanting to do the same thing. He is an engineer so he is keeping up much better. I have looked into some of the different water switches, trying to figure out what will and won't work. If/when i get the system in place, i assume i could track it with my phone or computer? Or, have it send me a message when it comes on? Would make me feel better, i think, to know it was working.

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Is Charles Martin taking his planter mounted roller to market? That is where we need to be! I have a lot of terraces and am very concerned with how the roller will handle them. I don't really need the terraces anymore, but haven't convinced my landowners yet.

The ability to control all the species in a mix is one reason i only bought half interest in a roller. I don't think monoculture crops, whether cover or cash, are the answer. We need to immulate Mother Nature and for me, that is as many things growing at once as possible. I am curious about your seeding rate on cereal rye. Here, we plant 90# as a monoculture. Have you done some side by sides, or is that just the rate you like?

You might have answered my question about crimson clover. I had very good luck with it last year. It has overwintered twice, and took last summers heat and drought very well. This fall however, i have seen very little come out of dormacy. I think we hit it at the wrong time with our burn.

As far as hairy vetch and rye, I really like both. Rye for us only gets about 5 1/2' tall but still, a lot of biomass. Your comment on the vetch breaking down is another reason for diversity. When i started planting covercrops i was looking at C:N ratios in the low 20's, now, if it is 35 it is too low! My soil has become so active i can not keep residue on the surface. I am switching to higher C:N broadleafs and less brassicas to try and offset this.

I agree about "much to learn", The more i learn, the less i know!!

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I was wondering if this would work for a livestock watering system? I am using solar power to run a Grunphos pump. Battery backup is to expensive, so i have a generator i use on cloudy days. I want a way for the Water tank to signal when it is low(this would have to be lower than when it normally kicks on) and a way for the generator to turn itself on, fill the tank, and shut itself off.