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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Sustainable Production, Profit, and Environmental Stewardship through Conservation Systems

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Title: Cover crop management practices-implications for early season weed control in conservation tillage corn cotton rotation

Authors
item Saini, M -
item Price, Andrew
item Van Santen, E -

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 9, 2007
Publication Date: January 9, 2007
Citation: Saini, M., Price, A.J., Van Santen, E. 2007. Cover crop management practices-implications for early season weed control in conservation tillage corn cotton rotation. In: Boyd, S., et al., editors. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 9-12, 2007, New Orleans. p. 1832-1841.

Interpretive Summary: Use of the winter cover crops is an integral component of the conservation systems in corn (Zea mays L.) and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). A field experiment was initiated in 2004 to evaluate weed suppression provided by winter cover crops in a conservation tillage corn and cotton rotation. Results showed a dramatic impact on biomass production with even a week’s delay in winter cover crop planting and corresponding reduction in summer annual weed suppression. More than ten times difference in biomass produced by clover was observed when clover was planted on the earliest and terminated on last date compared to late planting and early termination. Rye produced almost eight times more biomass in the same comparison. The data for the first two years show no significant relationship between cover crop biomass and the cash crop yield.

Technical Abstract: Use of the winter cover crops is an integral component of the conservation systems in corn (Zea mays L.) and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). A field experiment was initiated in 2004 to evaluate weed suppression provided by winter cover crops in a conservation tillage corn and cotton rotation. Rotation for winter cover crops included clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.) preceding corn and rye (Secale cereale L.) preceding cotton. Both covers were planted at five different planting dates with the median date corresponding to the thirty year average first frost. Termination dates in the spring were 4, 3, 2 and 1 week prior to cash crop planting, based on thirty year average soil temperature. Results showed a dramatic impact on biomass production with even a week’s delay in winter cover crop planting and corresponding reduction in summer annual weed suppression. More than ten times difference in biomass produced by clover was observed when clover was planted on the earliest and terminated on last date compared to late planting and early termination. Rye produced almost eight times more biomass in the same comparison. Correspondingly, weed biomass was 556 kg/ha in the treatment with least rye biomass, 8 times higher compared to the treatment with greatest rye biomass. Weed populations observed in clover were less than in rye even though the difference was only 34 kg/ha in case of clover. The data for the first two years show no significant relationship between cover crop biomass and the cash crop yield.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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