Information Sheet - Buckwheat in Ontario Field Crops

Eastern Canada cover crop selector tool

Planting Information
Drilled Seeding Depth ½-1 in [1.3 - 2.5 cm]
Drilled Seeding Rate 30-55 lb/ac [34-62 kg/ha]
Broadcast and incorporated rate should be 10 - 20% higher than drilled rate. Increase seeding rate in late fall.
Aerial seeding rate Not Recommended.
Seeds per lb 20,400 (metric: 45,000)
Frost Seed No
Termination Information
Termination Methods Freeze, Tillage, Mow, Chemical
Performance Roles
Legume Nitrogen Source Poor
N scavenger + N holder Good
Organic matter/soil builder Very Good
Compaction Fighter Poor
Water Erosion Fighter Good
Wind Erosion Fighter Good
Weed Fighter Excellent
Winter Survival Never
Winter Kill Never
Quick Growth Excellent
Lasting Residue Poor
Quick Residue Breakdown Poor - Mature crops are slower to decompose. Manage termination accordingly.
Potential Biofumigant Poor
Forage Harvest Poor
Seed Harvest Very Good
Interseed with Cash Crop Fair
Total Nitrogen 0 [(N/A)]
Dry Matter per year 1000-2500 lb/ac [1100-2800 kg/ha] - Dry matter and N content depends on amount of crop growth and maturity.
Comments Summer smother crop; breaks down quickly; attracts beneficials; attracts bees; valuable for honey production
Cultural Traits
Scientific Name Fagopyrum esculentum
Life Cycle Summer Annual
Growth Habit Upright to Semi-upright
Prefered Soil pH 5.0-7.0
Relative Costs (per area) 0
Min. Germination Temp. 50F/10C
Heat Tolerance Very Good
Drought Tolerance Good
Shade Tolerance Poor
Flood Tolerance Good
Low Fertility Tolerance Excellent
Potential Advantages, these are general, tentative ratings
Loosen subsoil Fair
Makes P&K more available to crops Poor
Loosens Topsoil Very Good
Soil Ecology - Suppresses Nematodes Good
Soil Ecology - Suppresses Disease Poor, check for specific diseases
Weed Control - Allelopathy Fair
Weed Control - Chokes Weeds Excellent
Attracts Beneficials Very Good
Takes foot or vehicle traffic Poor
Short Windows Excellent, growth in a short time period
Comments Potential honey income; very frost sensitive. Buckwheat is a particularly useful cover crop when used in combination for other soil quality building tactics. In addition to its phosphorus scavenger attributes, it can be used to resolve potato early-die disease complex symptoms associated with Penetrans Root-Lesion Nematode and Verticillium dahliae. Like any other cover crop, if it not used in an appropriate situation and managed properly, system objectives will not be achieved. All cover crop use should be objective dependent. One variety of buckwheat has been successfully developed for use as a sugarbeet cyst nematode trap crop.
Potential Disadvantages (these are general ratings)
Volunteer Establishment (includes hard seed) Could be a major problem
Weed Potential Could be a major problem, includes hard seed, likelihood to produce seed or survive termination
Insects/Nematodes/Slugs Rarely a problem
Crop Disease Rarely a problem, check for specific diseases
Establishment Challenges Rarely a problem
Challenges incorporating mature residues Rarely a problem
Comments Buckwheat sets seed quickly; Very frost sensitive; Does not germinate/thrive in cold soil; Risk for white mold (Sclerotinia).

The ability to achieve goals depends on appropriate situation and proper management.