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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH FOR IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND PRODUCER PROFITABILITY

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Title: Planting and termination dates affect winter cover crop biomass in a conservation-tillage corn-cotton rotation: implications for weed control and yield

Authors
item Saini, M - AUBURN UNIVERSITY
item Price, Andrew
item Van Santen, E - AUBURN UNIVERSITY
item Arriaga, Francisco
item Balkcom, Kipling
item Donoghue, Ann

Submitted to: Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 29, 2008
Publication Date: July 29, 2008
Citation: Saini, M., Price, A.J., Van Santen, E., Arriaga, F.J., Balkcom, K.S., Raper, R.L. 2008. Planting and termination dates affect winter cover crop biomass in a conservation-tillage corn-cotton rotation: implications for weed control and yield. In: Endale, D.M., editor. Proceedings of the 30th Southern Conservation Agricultural Systems Conference, July 29-31, 2008, Tifton, GA. CDROM. p. 137-141.

Interpretive Summary: Research has shown that a winter cover’s planting date and termination date has influence on both quality and quantity of residue production, and hence may affect subsequent weed suppression. A field study was conducted to determine optimum dates for planting and terminating cover crops so as to maximize biomass production and soil coverage, early season annual weed suppression, and cash crop yield. Winter cover crop biomass increased with the earlier planting and later termination and weed biomass decreased with increasing biomass. Observations indicate that high cover biomass should decrease early season weed interference and facilitate flexibility of POST application timing.

Technical Abstract: Research has shown that a winter cover’s planting date and termination date has influence on both quality and quantity of residue production, and hence may affect subsequent weed suppression. A field study was conducted to determine optimum dates for planting and terminating cover crops so as to maximize biomass production and soil coverage, early season annual weed suppression, and cash crop yield. Maximum crimson clover biomass production (5447 kg ha-1) was observed at Shorter, AL in 2005 when crimson clover was seeded four weeks prior to the average first day of a 0 C freeze and terminated four weeks prior to planting the cash crop corn. Rye biomass was maximum (10953 Kg ha -1 ) in year 2004 at Belle-Mina when covers were planted on the first planting date and terminated only a week prior to the cash crop cotton planting. Biomass production was in general less at this location in other two years. None of the winter cover crop planting or winter cover crop termination dates had any effect on the establishment of the two cash crops through the heavy residue. As the cash crop stands were not affected by the presence of the heavy winter cover crop residue on plots with earlier planting and later termination dates, thus there was no significant difference in the cotton lint and corn grain yields. Winter cover crop biomass increased with the earlier planting and later termination and weed biomass decreased with increasing biomass. Observations indicate that high cover biomass should decrease early season weed interference and facilitate flexibility of POST application timing.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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