Information gathered from the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) was used to compile this summary on how to use buckwheat as a cover crop in Ohio. For more information, see the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide, Third Edition, and the Cover Crop Selector Tool found at: midwestcovercrops.org/selector-tool/.
- Single, multibranched stems
- Abundant white flowers
- Dense, fibrous root system
- Summer annual
- Minimum germination temperature: 50 degrees Fahrenheit
- Reliable establishment window (state average): June 11–Sept. 28
- Semi-upright to upright growth habit: 2–5 feet
- Preferred soil pH: 6.0–7.5
- Can self-seed; very easy to grow
|Low fertility tolerance
- Drilled at ½–1 inch
- 20–35 lb./acre (pure live seed)
- Broadcast with shallow incorporation
- 22–40 lb./acre (pure live seed)
- Broadcast without incorporation
- 24–42 lb./acre (pure live seed)
Additional planting information:
- 20,400 seeds per lb.
- Increase seeding rate when planting on slopes.
- Broadcasting without incorporation is usually less dependable than drilling or broadcasting with incorporation.
- When interseeding, time the seeding to match the appropriate crop growth/maturity.
Disclaimer: Rules for Financial Assistance Program Recipients
Individuals participating in financial assistance programs are required to follow Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Appendix A regarding seeding rates and dates. Failure to do so will jeopardize payments. Appendix A can be found in Ohio’s Field Office Technical Guide, Section 4, Ecological Sciences Tools: efotg.sc.egov.usda.gov/#/state/OH/documents/section=4&folder=-6.
- Dry matter = 500–2,500 lb. per acre, per year
- Biomass quantity is highly dependent on planting/termination dates and precipitation.
Additional performance information:
- Rates poor for early interseeding
- Very frost sensitive
- Phosphorus scavenger
- May resolve symptoms associated with penetrans root lesion nematode and verticillium wilt
- Weed suppression dependent on early planting
|Grain seed harvest
|Cash crop interseed
- If terminating with only tillage, multiple passes are often required.
Additional termination information:
- Buckwheat goes to seed quickly and must be terminated before seed development.
- Caution should be used to prevent weed potential and impact on subsequent crops.
- Follow NRCS guidelines for cover crop termination dates to comply with crop insurance.
|Frees phosphorus (P) and potassium (K)
|Allelopathic (produces biochemicals that inhibit weeds)
Delayed emergence: occasionally a minor problem
Increased weed potential: could be a minor problem
- Regrowth and volunteer plants could be a problem if terminated after seeds become viable.
- Buckwheat sets seed quickly and could pose a weed problem.
Increased insects/nematodes: occasionally a minor problem
- Buckwheat is highly attractive to Japanese beetles.
Hinders crops: occasionally a minor problem
- This cover crop is susceptible to white mold.
- Buckwheat is very frost sensitive and does not germinate/thrive in cold soil.
- Contamination of buckwheat in wheat can affect wheat exports to Japan.
- Buckwheat is sensitive to several herbicides.
This publication was adapted with consent from the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) with content from the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide, Third Edition, and Cover Crop Selector Tool (midwestcovercrops.org/selector-tool/). It was created under a joint project with MCCC to produce customized introductory guidance about cover crops for all member states/provinces. Ohio cover crop recipes can be found at midwestcovercrops.org/statesprovince/ohio/.
The Midwest Cover Crops Council (midwestcovercrops.org) aims to facilitate widespread adoption of cover crops throughout the Midwest by providing educational/outreach resources and programs, conducting new research, and communicating about cover crops to the public.
Funding for this project was provided by the McKnight Foundation.