Sodbuster Radish

Sodbuster Brand radish is a new cover crop forage radish from Desert Sun marketing. Developed in New Zealand, it is the culmination of many years of selection for traits of a large fleshy taproot, high glucosinolate levels and a variety that Winter kills easily for fast decomposition.

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The Sodbuster’s large taproots are superior and can penetrate as far as six feet deep. The fleshy upper part can “bust” a hole from 10 - 20 inches long and two to three inches wide! This deep taproot both plows and breaks the hardpan, and also scavenges for plant nutrients, including Calcium, Sulfur and Nitrogen. The root decomposes rapidly when terminated, allowing for water penetration in the open holes and typically releases 80 lbs. of Nitrogen and five tons of organic matter for the next crop. Fast establishment and a thick canopy allows for weed control. The high levels of Glucosinolate in Sodbuster makes this radish an excellent natural bio-fumigant, which greatly reduces nematode populations. This radish is also used extensively in Europe and Brazil both as a soil builder and a livestock forage, primarily on dairy farms. Wildlife, especially deer, love this radish.

Planting Guide

Sodbuster Radish prefers clay or sandy soils. Ideal pH is between 6.0 and 6.8, with an ideal soil temperature of 45 °F. The seed is best planted after July 1 but at least 30 days before a Fall killing frost, at a depth less than 1.5”. It will require 60 lbs. of Nitrogen for good growth. These radishes will usually take 75 days for full growth, establishing well in warmer weather. 


Terminating the Sodbuster Radish in preparation for getting the next crop planted is important.  During cool weather it takes four to six weeks for the radish to decompose and during warm weather only two to three weeks. So time this according to weather and when your next crop is to be planted. Allowing your radish to bolt and go to bloom will also give you another ton / acre of organic matter. You want to terminate before the crop goes to seed.  If for some reason your radish does go to seed, those seed germinate rapidly and will be killed by herbicides in your next crop.


Many growers are using burndown chemicals like Glyphosate at the full rate and one pint 2,4-D.  Another mix is Glyphosate and Dicamba at 8 - 16 oz.  The 8 oz. rate of Dicamba has been working, but if you are concerned, bump the rate up. Two oz. of AIM or ET + 1 pt. COC is used. Gramoxone LS (32 oz.) + Diuron (1 1/2 pt.) + Surfactant will smoke a radish. Applying these mixes in 15 - 20 gal water/acre is key. Check re-cropping restrictions. Dicamba 21 days, 2,4-D 30 days and Diuron 15 days before planting cotton. These recommendations are not guaranteed. These are what growers are reporting to have worked for them. Rolling the radish works well. Disking the radish to remove the crown off of the root is acceptable also. To capitalize your cash you may graze cattle on the radish as the leaves are high in protein.


Here’s what you can expect when you plant Petcher Seeds’ Sodbuster Radish.

Scientific Name:

Raphanus sativus L.

Seed Count:

23,000 seed / LB.


Sodbuster Radish seed is best planted after July 1 but at least 30 days before a Fall killing frost.

Planting Rate:

8 - 10 LBs. / acre, 2 - 3 LBs. / acre as part of a mix

Case Study

Steve Dunn (in the photo above) and John Cook are known to have some of the hardest red clay soil in south Alabama. Last October, sodbuster radish at nine lbs. / acre was planted on their farm. Photos were taken just after a four inches of rain. Ten inches away from the sodbuster, the soil penatrameter would not penetrate 3” deep. Most plant roots will not penetrate soil that has a psi of 300. This was the depth at which the soil penatrameter stopped. Two inches away from the radish, the soil penatrameter went 8” - 10” deep. The penatrameter was inserted where the radish was pulled up and almost went out of sight. This was due to the deep taproot of the radish breaking the hard pan. This Spring, both corn and cotton are performing very well in this hard clay soil where the radishes were planted. Not only the 2” main tuber which busted up the top soil, but especially the deep taproot of the radish which broke up the hard pan made a dynamic difference in the next crop. Dunn and Cook are expecting an excellent yield of both corn and cotton that are now planted in these fields.