Michigan State University No-till planting soybeans into standing rye
Roller / crimper research

About the Cover Crop Roller/Crimper

rolling crimpingWhile farmers throughout history have made use of crop rollers in one form or another, the first official use of the cover crop roller/crimper (R/C) in contemporary cover crop research came in 2003, when technicians at The Rodale Institute designed and built a front-mounted R/C for use in research conducted to reduce tillage in organic farming systems.

The Rodale farmers used the R/C in experiments with no-till corn planted into mixed legume covers and no-till soybeans planted into small grain covers. The results, such as a drop from eight field operations to one (rolling and planting simultaneously), caught the attention of researchers at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station (KBS), who constructed a R/C of their own based on the Rodale model in 2004.

Building RollerThe KBS R/C was crafted by station technicians with metal from a salvage yard. It is a 10-foot long, hollow cylinder designed with a small plug on the surface to allow the addition of water for higher or lower weight operations depending on field conditions. The R/C weighs 1500 pounds empty and roughly 2300 pounds when full. Like the Rodale model, the KBS R/C has fins extending down the length of its surface designed to crimp the covers as they are rolled.

Schematic illistration (pdf)

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