Cover crop seed drilling options for small farms with small equipment

Hi, there.

I was wondering if there were any options for seed drilling for small operations like ourselves. We use a BCS hand tractor for our raised beds. I just put out some pea/oat mix a few weeks ago that we raked in and covered with a light layer of soil. Many of the seed packages that we have for cover crops suggest seed drilling. So, is there any such option either for a BCS or a small scale version? I saw this EFAO post that talked about drilling and using a packer. Is there any small scale version of these that would work, or more efficient techniques that we can use?



For doing one bed at a time, a big step up from broadcasting would be to use an earthway seeder. There’s a good article that covers the technique and includes a table with seed plate and depth suggestions for various cover crops:

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I agree with Eric @eric.barnhorst, if you’re on a small enough scale that you take the time to broadcast and rake, you might as well use a seeder like the Earthway which will save you a lot of time and most likely improve your germination rate and drought tolerance.

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I farm with horses and often find seed drill very inexpensive. I purchased one recently…and just cut out some the the end discs to get the the correct size. It took some work fiberglassing some of the parts but it works great… and manual too. You could drag it behind a walk behind tractor.

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I’m curious about this as well, thanks @beyondorganic for bringing this up.

The earthway seeder is a great suggestion for bed-by-bed.

I’m particularly curious about no-till drilling a cover crop seed through an existing crop stubble when switching from one cover crop to another. I don’t think the earthway would cut it (ha!) in that case.


@clovercroftfarm Haha, no it surely wouldn’t! Ken Laing out of Orchard Hill does no-till drilling of cover crops, you might want to get in touch with him. He’s also one of many advisors for the EFAO’s advisory service.

Thanks everyone for the good advice. @mat, where did you buy your seed drill? @eric.barnhorst, we will try using our Earthway seeder for the next fields we will be doing shortly. Thx!

I get a lot of my stuff from kijiji…the manual seed drill that I use with the horses cost me $250… and well worth it! Even got a pull behind combine with a working motor and ready to work for $1000!!!.

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Thanks, @mat. I’ll look at kijiji to see what they have available. I saw many ads when I was doing a Google search.