Information gathered from the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) was used to compile this summary on how to use radish 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/.
- Deeply lobed leaves
- Rosette of leaves
- Flowers that are purple, light purple, light pink, or white
- Deep taproot
- Cool-season annual
- Minimum germination temperature: 45 degrees Fahrenheit
- Reliable establishment window (state average): Mar. 29–June 11; July 24–Sept. 28
- Upright growth habit: 12–18 inches
- Preferred soil pH: 6.0–7.5
- Drilled at ¼–½ inch
- 2–4 lb./acre (pure live seed)
- Broadcast with shallow incorporation
- 3–5 lb./acre (pure live seed)
- Broadcast without incorporation
- 3–6 lb./acre (pure live seed)
Additional planting information:
- 34,000 seeds per lb.
- When planting on slopes or using for forage/grazing, increase seeding rate.
- Broadcasting without incorporation is usually less dependable than drilling or broadcasting with incorporation.
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 = 1,200–3,000 lb. per acre, per year
- Biomass quantity is highly dependent on planting/termination dates and precipitation.
Additional performance information:
- Radish is excellent for early interseeding.
- It is good at scavenging but will release nutrients before crop growing season.
- Other plants may be smothered if radish is planted too heavy.
- It produces a natural herbicide called glucosinolate, that reduces weed germination.
- The grazing palatability of radish improves after frost.
- Radish attracts earthworms.
- Do not plant as a single species due to erosion concern.
- During the process of decay, radish can be odorous.
- Radish can bolt under certain conditions and become a serious weed if allowed to go to seed.
|Nitrogen scavenger||Very good|
|Weed fighter||Very good|
|Quick growth||Very good|
|Cash crop interseed||Excellent|
- If terminating with only tillage, multiple passes are often required.
- Winter-kills at 25 degrees Fahrenheit (mild winters may allow for 10% survival of some varieties).
Additional termination information:
- Follow NRCS guidelines for cover crop termination dates to comply with crop insurance.
|Frees phosphorus (P) and potassium (K)||Very good|
|Allelopathic (produces biochemicals that inhibit weeds)||Very good|
|Short windows||Very good|
Delayed emergence: could be a minor problem
Increased weed potential: could be a minor problem
Increased insects/nematodes: occasionally a minor problem
Hinders crops: occasionally a minor problem
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.