Kelley Manufacturing, also known as KMC, had a newly developed piece of equipment on exhibition at the Southern Farm Show, their Cover Crop Roller, and it really had farmers' interest piqued, noted Kelly Peele, the company's marketing manager.
"It is specifically designed and incorporated into the design of our KMC Rip Strip," Peele said, "and it can be retrofitted into earlier models. One of the main benefits for farmers is that since it is affixed to the front of the Rip Strip it allows the farmer to roll, rip, strip and, if he has a set of planters on the back of his unit, he can plant -- and he can do it all in one pass."
That means the farmer can save substantial fuel and money in his operations, not to mention saving tractor-driving time.
Peele said Extension researchers at the University of Georgia have shown that rolling cover crops can retain moisture and nutrients in the soil. It can also hamper pigweeds from germinating by shading them out.
"There are all kinds of benefits," she said. "There are several pluses. If there are any downsides, we haven't heard of them."
More research will be needed to determine just how effective the tool will be against pigweed. But Peele said farmers at the Southern Farm Show were really curious because the cover crop rollers they've seen so far have generally been affixed to tractors. The KMC unit is one of the first, if not the first, affixed to a rip-strip unit.
"With interest in conservation tillage growing it has really piqued farmers interest," Peele said. "Farmers want to know more about it. They want to know about product availability and about times and all those kinds of things."
Kelley Manufacturing makes a wide range of farm equipment including deep tillage and tillage implements, bedding equipment, strip till, row crop and field crop cultivators and more. Those interested in learning more can visit online.