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 Tillage Radish

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Grassfarmer



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Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Tillage Radish   Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:01 pm

Anyone had any experience with tillage radish? Just discovered them today and am quite intrigued by their potential on a number of fronts.
http://www.friendlyacres.sk.ca/pdf/CoverCropGuideline-2.pdf
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Tom D
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Location : Michigan

PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:13 pm

Grassy,

I've experimented with them for the past three years and have also sold seed to others. I've found that the key is to get them in early enough to get the full benefit. Most of the farmers around here that decide to dabble with cover crops want to buy some silver bullet wonder seed that they can plant late, not fertilize, and then reap all of these amazing benefits that they were promised at the seminar they went to. Kinda sounds like the registered cattle business, eh?

The only place to really fit them in for the crop farmers around here is after wheat. I sold quite a bit of seed this summer to some grain farmers, I guess I'll find out if they liked it next summer. I've had some repeat customers already, either nurseries or hippie hobby SGF types. I think they would be worth a try if you are trying to jump start some ground that's not quite where you want it to be, along with the benefit of being able to graze them off when they're done.

Last year I planted the first of August at about 5 lbs./acre, along with some oats and triticale and hairy vetch. The idea was for the radish and oats to function as a winterkilled cover crop and the triticale and vetch to provide a crop in the spring. It worked quite well, some of the tillage radishes were as big as my forearm. Keep in mind that on those great big radishes that they show in the brochure, about a third is above ground. The deer love 'em. They're just Daikon radishes like in the produce department. They smell like a natural gas leak when they decompose in early spring, so don't plant them in your backyard.

TD, self-proclaimed radish expert
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PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:28 pm

Would these grow in Nevada elevation 5000 ft alkaline soil short growing season last frost June first frost Sept.
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PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:48 am

W.T wrote:
Would these grow in Nevada elevation 5000 ft alkaline soil short growing season last frost June first frost Sept.

I think that would be ideal for them.
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larkota



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Age : 57
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PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:41 am

used turnip, radish, lentil, and rapeseed this year. planted Aug 10th after winter wheat. EQIP program will do on any farm ground once and pay about 70% of seed bill. 200 cows have been on a quarter of this and corn stocks since Nov 25th. cows in great shape but boy do they stink. turnips and radish did not make a bulb this year instead set seed. last year turnips were as big as softballs. fun to watch cows try and chew them down. I would still plant without gov support.
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:16 pm

So Tom, you radish wizard, what are the seeds like? size, shape, hardness etc? Not quite sure where i'd fit them in with our different growing conditions but I'm mostly interested in their hard-pan breaking characteristics and to add organic matter/stimulate microbial activity. I speculate that we have quite a lot of nutrients deep down here that we aren't accessing. Anytime a mole digs a hole down deep the spoil pile on top grows a tremendous flush of grass the next year - I'm guessing that indicates there is fertility deeper but no-one has ever confirmed that suspicion for me. One thing that might work for us is to sow mid-late May along with oats - silage the oats in late July and grade the regrowth in the fall. Would that work to cut off the top growth and stimulate tuber growth or would it be too late? Maybe we would need to seed them after the silage crop is off but that would require another seeding operation and would be seeding at our hottest, driest time.

larkota, why did your crops set seed this year rather than grow bulbs? seeded too early? you weren't short of moisture in the summer/fall were you?
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larkota



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Location : Kimball South Dakota

PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:27 pm

grass I dont know why. summer of 2010 I floated the seed on with Phos. plenty dry that year, but had big turnips and radishs.
this year I planted them with a notill drill, maybe to deep. no rain this fall at all. did pull cows off today thought they had it cleaned up, it was all three of us could do just to get them locked up.
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Tom D
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PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:09 pm

W.T wrote:
Would these grow in Nevada elevation 5000 ft alkaline soil short growing season last frost June first frost Sept.

"You can grow palm trees in North Dakota, but the costs get prohibitive."



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Tom D
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PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:23 pm

Grassfarmer wrote:
So Tom, you radish wizard, what are the seeds like? size, shape, hardness etc? Not quite sure where i'd fit them in with our different growing conditions but I'm mostly interested in their hard-pan breaking characteristics and to add organic matter/stimulate microbial activity. I speculate that we have quite a lot of nutrients deep down here that we aren't accessing. Anytime a mole digs a hole down deep the spoil pile on top grows a tremendous flush of grass the next year - I'm guessing that indicates there is fertility deeper but no-one has ever confirmed that suspicion for me. One thing that might work for us is to sow mid-late May along with oats - silage the oats in late July and grade the regrowth in the fall. Would that work to cut off the top growth and stimulate tuber growth or would it be too late? Maybe we would need to seed them after the silage crop is off but that would require another seeding operation and would be seeding at our hottest, driest time.

larkota, why did your crops set seed this year rather than grow bulbs? seeded too early? you weren't short of moisture in the summer/fall were you?

The seed is round and bigger than you'd think, kind of like a millet. I know some guys plant it with sugar beet plates. It's not like turnip or clover seed, and if you broadcast it you'd have to work it in. I think planting after the oats would work the best, I don't think it would work earlier with the oats. I think the "tillage" aspects tend to get exaggerated in the promotions, but I do think they help to pull nutrients back up to the surface. They send a skinny tap root quite a bit deeper than the bulb itself, which in theory siphons up the nutrients and stores them in the bulb, which then decomposes and makes them available again.

TD, wishing I had taken a picture of some of the more phallic radishes.
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:29 pm

I'm not familiar with millet any chance the radish seed would be small enough and hard enough to go through a cow undigested? so I could feed it in the mineral?

GF, Always interested in pursuing the cheap way.
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fasf



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PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:09 pm

Good discussion. Around Rimby, AB, you can contact Blaine Staples at Innisfail or Murray Abel at Lacombe for seed.

We have been experimenting with radish seed for 4 years. We found Tillage Radish to be the easiest to work with. We seeded 34 pounds of oats with 2 pounds of Tillage Radish July 22nd as a cover crop for our winter triticale. The oats grew 24" tall, and the Tillage Radish were 18" tall, with 2 1/2" diameter tubers. Before the tubers develop, a light frost will kill them. Once they do develop a good tuber, they will take a -9°C frost (it takes 3 nights of -9 to kill them). They will require 40 days of growth to develop a good tuber. A quick rule of thumb, the tap root will grow 24" per month of growth. Seeding date should be between mid June to early to mid August, depending on the date of the first hard frost.

Other varieties (or VNS) can create plants that are not great to work with (go to seed too quickly, poor tuber development, etc)

Seed size is similar to crown millet (or red proso), slightly larger than InVigor canola. do not put much fertilizer with the seed. Best to mix it with a cereal to cool it down. Protein can be around 35%, with RFV over 200. I prefer Tillage Radish over turnips. Better root system and turnips can choke cattle if the wrong size. Seeding rates in a blend will range from 1 to 4 pounds per acre, to break up hard pan, aim 6 to 10 pounds per acre. A 4 pound rate will accumulate nutrients. Rotational grazing works well during the year, or can be stockpiled for fall. Deer have been grazing the cover crop all winter, on a year where hunters complained about no deer, there were 60 to 120 deer grazing on 40 acres.

We had some broadcasted into grazing corn, August 1st, then grazed in October. Cows went grazing over them.

Doubt if they would survive the trip through the guts of a cow. Broadcasting with good moisture works well.

Nevada at higher elevation, Tillage Radish will work well, as long as you don't get too much drought stress.

If you want to see some pictures, we have some on our facebook page (Friendly Acres Seed Farm).
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PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:34 pm

Thanks for all the info we just might give that a try.
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:04 pm

So here is my experiment with tillage radish on my place. Seeded some into our weed silage stubble @July 15th. It doesn't like competition. In places where there was nothing else growing it grew. Couldn't compete with red clover or quack grass. Almost non-existent on a field scale.
I seeded some on 24th July into a bull corral where there was plenty moisture, bare soil and high nutrient levels, they did a lot better here.
Here are some samples after 50 days growth.

A couple of bigger plants but still with very little tuber




Who is chewing them?


Really surprised at some flowering and bolting given how late they were seeded in this climate.


What's the story Tom D?
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fasf



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PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:04 am

Tubers look good. The one picture indicates high compaction (being bull pen, no surprise). If the weeds were ahead of the radish, yes it does not "catch up" to compete. Red clover and quack are competitive.

Tuber development usually starts with cooling nights. It is trying to set up nutrient reserves for over wintering (rarely occurs in Western Canada)

Flea beetles will chew on them, they are in the same family as canola (but high glucosinolates).

With the open fall, they haven't got the shut down signal from Mother Nature, so they are bolting. Ideally, you should have 5-6 weeks of growth before the 1st frost. They will continue to grow until you get 3 nights of -9°C.

Grassfarmer wrote:
So here is my experiment with tillage radish on my place. Seeded some into our weed silage stubble @July 15th. It doesn't like competition. In places where there was nothing else growing it grew. Couldn't compete with red clover or quack grass. Almost non-existent on a field scale.
I seeded some on 24th July into a bull corral where there was plenty moisture, bare soil and high nutrient levels, they did a lot better here.
Here are some samples after 50 days growth.

A couple of bigger plants but still with very little tuber




Who is chewing them?


Really surprised at some flowering and bolting given how late they were seeded in this climate.


What's the story Tom D?
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LCP



Posts : 49
Join date : 2012-04-16
Location : north central SD

PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:58 pm

fasf wrote:


Tuber development usually starts with cooling nights. It is trying to set up nutrient reserves for over wintering (rarely occurs in Western Canada)


Is that the case with other types of radish as well? I planted radish/turnip/sorghum/rape in June. The above-ground production has been decent but I've been a little disappointed in the root development, particularily in the radishes. Turnips are about baseball sized for the most part, except one spot where the seed ran out. There they are about like a cantalope.
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Tillage Radish   Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:56 pm

So the major tuber development is maybe still ahead of us? I was thinking they weren't going to amount to much give the grass growth has slowed to almost nothing, leaves are coming off the trees and we are extremely dry. It's just going to be a narrow window here before they get three -9C nights. I'll wait and see.
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