Information gathered from the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) was used to compile this summary on how to use rapeseed 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/.
- Small, yellow, four-petaled flowers on vertical stems
- Narrow leaves at top of plant with larger lobed leaves toward the bottom
- Strong taproot with fibrous lateral roots
- Rapeseed and canola are the same species, but their oils have different chemical makeup; rapeseed has at least 45% erucic acid content, whereas canola has usually less than 2% erucic acid
- Winter annual
- Minimum germination temperature: 41 degrees Fahrenheit
- Reliable establishment window (state average): July 25–Oct. 19
- Upright growth habit: 3–5 feet
- Preferred soil pH: 5.5–8.0
|Low fertility tolerance
|Varies based on specific variety
- Drilled at ¼–½ inch
- 1–4 lb./acre (pure live seed)
- Broadcast with shallow incorporation
- 2–4 lb./acre (pure live seed)
- Broadcast without incorporation
- 3–4 lb./acre (pure live seed)
Additional planting information:
- 157,000 seeds per lb.
- Do not use glyphosate-resistant varieties.
- 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 yield = 1,000–2,500 lb. per acre, per year
- Biomass quantity is highly dependent on planting/termination dates and precipitation.
Additional performance information:
- Should not be used in rotation with other brassicas.
- May help reduce rhizoctonia in some cropping systems.
- May become a serious weed if allowed to go to seed.
- Does not tolerate ponding.
|Cash crop interseed
- If terminating with only tillage, multiple passes are often required.
- Winter survival varies based on specific variety and conditions
Additional termination information:
- Kill or till-in at least three weeks before planting cash crop.
- There is a moderate weed potential if not completely terminated.
- Follow NRCS guidelines for cover crop termination dates to comply with crop insurance.
|Allelopathic (produces biochemicals that inhibit weeds)
Delayed emergence: could be a minor problem
Increased weed potential: could be a moderate problem
Increased insects/nematodes: could be a minor problem
Hinders crops: occasionally a minor problem
Mature incorporation challenges: 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.