Girl Planting seeds

New research explores the impact of cover crop residues on weed control

Cover crops have a well-documented role to play in suppressing troublesome weeds. But what happens as those cover crops degrade? A new study featured in the journal Weed Science explores whether cover-crop residues help to suppress summer annual weeds and promote greater crop yields. Researchers planted single cover-crop treatments of cereal rye, hairy vetch, crimson clover and forage radish in the fall, as well as two-way and three-way mixtures. Each was followed by corn and soybean crops. The team tracked the biomass of each cover crop and the residual components produced—uncovering several key trends. They found that cover-crop biomass and the ratio of carbon to nitrogen influenced weed suppression and its duration. For example, a 9 to 1 ratio of carbon to nitrogen suppressed pigweed by 50 percent at four weeks after treatment, while a 20 to 1 ratio delivered the same level of control eight weeks after treatment.  Read more.....

 

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