Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory
Title: Maximizing Rye Cover Crop Biomass Production by the Use of Timely Subsoiling Authors
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 20, 2006
Publication Date: September 20, 2006
Citation: Raper, R.L., Schwab, E.B., Bergtold, J.S., Price, A.J., Balkcom, K.S., Arriaga, F.J., Kornecki, T.S. 2006. Maximizing Rye Cover Crop Biomass Production by the Use of Timely Subsoiling [Abstract]. Auburn University Symposium “Energy Solutions for Alabama Natural Resources”, October 23-24, 2006, Auburn, AL. Technical Abstract: Current estimates of annual dry biomass production from agriculture are 194 million tons. However, one potential resource that has largely been ignored is the potential that we have to harvest a portion of cover crops that are mostly grown during winter months to protect soils from erosion. Of course care must be exercised to ensure that adequate amounts of cover crop residue are left in the field to protect soils and benefit crops. Rye (Secale cereale L.) has been widely adopted for use as a winter cover crop for cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). Approximately 12-18 million tons of rye biomass could be produced annually from this cropping system if 50% of all cotton acres in the South (12 million total acres) used this system. However, most tillage and fertilizer practices attempt to maximize cash crop yields and do not focus on increasing cover crop yields. Two ongoing studies indicate that the use of timely subsoiling could significantly increase cover crop biomass. Further experimentation is needed to determine maximum levels of biomass that can be produced when timely subsoiling and fertilization techniques are used.