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Information for Buckwheat Growers

Buckwheat Cover Crop Handbook


Nurse crop for summer-sown forage

Buckwheat can be used as a nurse (companion) crop with summer seedings of alfalfa or alfalfa-grass mixtures much the way oats are used with spring seedings. Summer seedings are typically made in late July through mid-August following winter wheat harvest. Rapid buckwheat establishment will suppress summer annual weeds. Subsequent mowing of the buckwheat provides mulch against establishment of winter annual and biennial weeds.


  1. Seed buckwheat and perennial forage(s) with one of two options.
    • Grain drill with small seed box. Prepare a firm seedbed by cultipacking and drill buckwheat at 50 lb/ac, 1 inch deep or less, along with alfalfa or alfalfa/grass mixture in the small seed box. Cultipacking after planting should improve germination and establishment of perennial forages.
    • Broadcast buckwheat. Prepare a good seedbed and broadcast 70 lb/ac of buckwheat to obtain a uniform stand. Cultipack to incorporate buckwheat seed and to prepare a fine, firm seedbed for germination and establishment of perennial forages. Seed alfalfa or alfalfa-grass mixture and cultipack a second time.
  2. Flail mow buckwheat 40 to 45 days after seeding to stop competition with perennial forage seedlings. Buckwheat straw mulch will suppress winter annual and biennial weeds.


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