CSF Winter Cover Crop Planting Scheduler

© Cornell University, 2017.  Credits: Tool Developed by Thomas Björkman, Kitty O’Neil & Brian Belcher.

Please take a few minutes to fill out a brief questionnaire on the CSF tools, so that we can continue to improve them, and develop new tools that are most needed! The questionnaire is voluntary and confidential, but we appreciate your input!

Instructions on Using the Tool:

Choosing Your Location

  • Click the editing button for Location, which pops up a dialog box with text field and a map (click the ‘x’ at the top right to exit if needed)
  • Create a new location by 1) entering your address, zip code, county, in the text field and clicking the “GO” button, OR 2) clicking on the map at any location in the Northeast
  • The “Confirm Location Information” dialog box will appear after clicking “GO,” along with a yellow marker at the new location.
    • Click “Save and Select” when you want to see the graph for your chosen location
    • Click “Save” when the yellow marker is in the correct location, but you want to add more locations (the color of the new symbol will be changed to blue)
    • Click “Cancel” when you do not want to keep the location

Selecting or Deleting Additional Locations

  • You may select or delete a location from those already shown (upon clicking “Change Location”) by hovering and then clicking on an existing symbol once the white box with existing location details has appeared
  • The “Confirm Location Information” dialog will appear at the top of the map
    • Click “Select” when you want to see the graph for that location. When the dialog box closes, the color of the selected location’s marker will be changed to red, and the color of the previously selected marker will be changed to blue. The dialog box will close and your graph will appear
    • Click “Delete” to delete the location, immediately removing the marker from the map
    • Click “Cancel” when you want to do nothing

Selecting for Crop

  • There are three crop options to choose from, rye, buckwheat, and mustard. Choose the crop you intend to plant.

Once the information in the tool is set, your graph will appear showing probabilities of cover crop establishment before the end of the season (Rye), or probabilities of exceeding specific biomass thresholds prior to the first hard freeze (Buckwheat, Mustard). Highlighted probabilities correspond to the most recent 15-year period, and are recommended for use in a trending environment. Mousing over the top graph allows you to view specific results for potential planting dates. The bottom graph provides annual growing degree accumulations as they compare to the crop’s target threshold (horizontal reference line).

Why is this tool needed?

It is important to know how late into the growing season cover crops can be planted, and still be confident that these crops can accomplish the goals intended. These goals can include reaching critical amounts of biomass, reaching developmental stages that ensure overwintering success, etc. This tool helps to quantify the chances of success and limits the risk involved. At this time, the cover crop tool uses models that are optimized for rye, buckwheat and mustard production. For model information, please refer to publications provided when clicking on the “data info” button in the lower left-hand corner of the tool.

How does this tool work?

This tool provides a time series chart showing how the probability of reaching important levels of cover crop growth by the end of the growing season decreases as later planting dates are chosen. As the days advance you can see the potential consequences of waiting several days or weeks to plant.

Producers can use this tool to:

  • Make the best selection of crop varieties, optimize planting times, etc
  • Respond to sudden changes: to alter planting plans, the type of cover crop, etc. If unpredictable weather (i.e. heavy rainfall) or field conditions cause delay
  • Assess confidence in planting date selection, or risk involved with delays in planting
  • Assess how a particular season compares to historical or future seasons given climate change.

Please note that this tool only covers the Northeastern United States.

Unsure of what steps to take next?  Click here to find your local Extension office for more detailed advice.

Please take a few minutes to take a brief survey on the CSF tools, so that we can continue to improve them, and develop new tools that are most needed! The survey is voluntary and confidential (the password to complete the survey is CSF).