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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Cover Crop Residue Effects on Early-Season Weed Establishment in a Conservation-Tillage Corn-Cotton Rotation

Authors
item Saini, Monika - AUBURN UNIVERSITY
item Price, Andrew
item Van Santen, Edzard - AUBURN UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2006
Publication Date: June 26, 2006
Citation: Saini, M., Price, A.J., Van Santen, E. 2006. Cover crop residue effects on early-season weed establishment in a conservation-tillage corn-cotton rotation. In: Proceedings of the 28th Annual Southern Conservation Systems Conference. p. 175-178.

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. Rotation for winter cover crops included clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.) preceding corn and rye (Secale cereale L.) preceding cotton. The covers were planted at five different planting dates based on thirty year average historical soil temperature. Termination dates in the spring were 4, 3, 2 and 1 week prior to cash crop planting, also based on thirty year average historical soil temperature. It was observed even a week’s delay in winter cover crop planting can severely impact the biomass production and thus have a negative bearing on the cover crop benefits. More than ten times difference in cover biomass produced by clover was observed when the covers were 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. Though the difference was only 34 kg/ha in case of clover, it’s important to mention that weed populations observed in clover were less than in rye.

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. The covers were planted at five different planting dates based on thirty year average historical soil temperature. Termination dates in the spring were 4, 3, 2 and 1 week prior to cash crop planting, also based on thirty year average historical soil temperature. It was observed even a week’s delay in winter cover crop planting can severely impact the biomass production and thus have a negative bearing on the cover crop benefits. More than ten times difference in cover biomass produced by clover was observed when the covers were 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. Though the difference was only 34 kg/ha in case of clover, it’s important to mention that weed populations observed in clover were less than in rye.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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