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Cover Crop Series: Browntop Millet

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Browntop Millet is one of my favorite grass cover crops. It is adapted to a broad range of soil textures. It is usually the shortest of the summer grass cover crops in height but it still does a good job of shading the soil surface. Browntop millet will grow about 45 days before it goes reproductive. Seed produced on browntop millet cover crops can create volunteer stands and it is not uncommon to see browntop millet seedlings growing in manure pats of cows grazing mature plants. Seeding rate was 16 pounds per acre.

The plots were drill planted in 7.5 inch rows in a clean-tilled and culti-packed seedbed on May 16, 2017 at the Noble Research Institute Headquarters Farm in Ardmore, Oklahoma on a Weatherford fine sandy loam. Planting depth was shallow, about 0.5 inch, in a dry seedbed and 2.33 inches of rain fell over the next three days. There was no fertilizer, insecticide, or herbicide applied to the crops and pigweed pressure in the field was very heavy. Rainfall was below average after establishment.

About the Cover Crop Series

The Noble Research Institute is testing dozens of cover crop species with potential to help build soil health in the Southern Great Plains. This series features the cover crops we've grown on our Headquarters Farm in southern Oklahoma. These videos explore our results on establishment and growth, ground cover potential, and weed control for each crop.

Jim Johnson serves as a senior soils and crops consultant at Noble Research Institute, where he has worked since 1999. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in soil science from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in agronomy from Oklahoma State University, he worked in various plant breeding programs in Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma. His interests are cover crops and soil health.