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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECOLOGICALLY BASED PEST MANAGEMENT IN MODERN CROPPING SYSTEMS

Location: North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory

Title: Suppression of downy brome by red clover as a cover crop

Author
item ANDERSON, RANDAL

Submitted to: Western Society of Weed Science Research Reports
Publication Type: Research Notes
Publication Acceptance Date: March 10, 2014
Publication Date: March 10, 2014
Citation: Anderson, R.L. 2014. Suppression of downy brome by red clover as a cover crop. Western Society of Weed Science Research Reports.

Interpretive Summary: Organic producers are concerned about the extensive tillage they use to control weeds. We are striving to develop a no-till system for organic farming that relies on cultural tactics and rotation design to manage weeds. This study demonstrated that underseeding red clover into winter wheat effectively controls weeds during the fall following winter wheat harvest. The fall growth of red clover suppresses growth of weeds. Clover growth in winter wheat is minor, thus not affecting grain yield of winter wheat. This cultural tactic will contribute to a comprehensive no-till system for organic farming, and reduce the need for tillage.

Technical Abstract: Weeds are one of the primary obstacles to successful organic farming. Organic producers till to control weeds, but soil health is being damaged by the extensive tillage. Therefore, organic producers are interested in reducing the amount of tillage in their production systems. This study examined the effectiveness of underseeding red clover into winter wheat on suppressing downy brome growth. Our goal is to eliminate the need for tillage during the fall following winter wheat harvest. Downy brome biomass was reduced 97% by fall growth of red clover compared with the control treatment of no clover. Seed production of downy brome was reduced similarly by clover. Producers may be able to control weeds between winter wheat and the following crop with underseeded clovers. Winter wheat yield was not affected by the clover. Our broader goal with our research program is to develop a continuous no-till system for organic farming. This study provides one tactic that will contribute to that goal.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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