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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Rye Cover Crop Management Affects Grain Yield in a Soybean-Corn Rotation

Authors
item Singer, Jeremy
item Kohler, Keith

Submitted to: Crop Management at www.cropmanagement.org
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 20, 2005
Publication Date: February 24, 2005
Citation: Singer, J.W., Kohler, K.A., 2005. Rye cover crop management affects grain yield in a soybean-corn rotation. Available: www.cropmanagement.org. doi:10.1094/CM-2005-0224-02-RS.

Interpretive Summary: Cover crops provide many environmental benefits, yet their adoption into production agriculture has been limited. The objectives of this study were to determine how rye cover crop management affects grain yield of soybean and corn in a soybean-corn rotation. Field studies were conducted from 2002 to 2004 near Boone, IA. Prior to soybean, rye was controlled either chemically or mechanically at different growth stages. Prior to corn, reseeded rye from mechanical control plots was chemically controlled. In 2002 and 2003, soybean yield was not affected by the timing of rye control by mechanical means, but all rye treatments yielded less than the control. Soybean yields following chemical timing treatments increased as timing of rye control was delayed, but also yielded less than the control in both years. Corn yield following rye was lower than the no rye check (133 vs. 153) in 2003. In 2004, corn yield was lower than the no rye check in one of three rye treatments. These results indicate that alternative cover crop systems must be developed to protect soil and water resources and provide economic returns for producers using the corn-soybean rotation.

Technical Abstract: Cover crops provide many environmental benefits, yet their adoption into production agriculture has been limited. The objectives of this study were to determine how rye (Secale cereale L.) cover crop management effects yield of soybean [Glycine max (Merr) L.] and corn (Zea mays L.) in a soybean-corn rotation. Field studies were conducted from 2002 to 2004 near Boone, IA. Prior to soybean, rye was controlled either chemically or mechanically at Feeke's growth stages 7 (2nd node visible), 9.8 (boot), and 10.5.1 (flowering). Prior to corn, reseeded rye from mechanical control plots was chemically controlled. In both years a method by timing interaction was detected for soybean yield. In 2002 and 2003, no differences were detected among timing treatments in mechanical control, which yielded 21 and 29 compared to 52 and 42 bu/acre in the control. Chemical timing treatments yielded 30, 39, 43 bu/acre for the 2nd node, boot, and flowering compared to 50 bu/acre in 2002 and 29, 30, 36, and 43 bu/acre in 2003. Corn yield following residual cover crop treatments in mechanical control were 20 bu/acre lower than the control (133 vs. 153) in 2003. In 2004, corn yield only differed between the flowering treatment and the control (192 vs. 207 bu/acre). These results indicate that alternative cover crop systems must be developed to protect soil and water resources and provide economic returns.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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