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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Agroecosystems Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #286428

Title: Rye cover crop effects on soil properties in no-till corn silage/soybean agroecosystems

item MOORE, ERIC - Iowa State University
item Kaspar, Thomas
item WIEDENHOEFT, MARY - Iowa State University
item Cambardella, Cynthia

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/21/2012
Publication Date: 10/21/2012
Citation: Moore, E., Kaspar, T.C., Wiedenhoeft, M., Cambardella, C.A. 2012. Rye cover crop effects on soil properties in no-till corn silage/soybean agroecosystems. American Society of Agronomy Annual Meetings [abstracts]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting. Oct. 21-24, 2012, Cincinnati, OH. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Farmers in the U.S. Corn Belt are showing increasing interest in winter cover crops. Known benefits of winter cover crops include reductions in nutrient leaching, erosion mitigation, and weed suppression, however little research has investigated the effects of winter cover crops on soil properties. Evidence of improvements in soil quality indicators would provide further incentive for farmers to implement winter cover crops. This experiment investigated the effects of a rye (Secale cereale L.) winter cover crop on several soil quality indicators including particulate organic matter, potential nitrogen mineralization, and total soil organic matter. The objectives of this experiment were to determine whether a rye winter cover crop improves soil quality, if rye effects on soil quality vary depending on which crop it follows in the corn silage/soybean rotation sequence, and if the effects of a rye winter cover crop differ depending on soil depth. Soil properties were measured on four treatments and at two depths, 0-5cm and 5-10cm. Treatments included no rye winter cover crop (control), rye following soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], rye following corn silage (Zea mays L.), and rye following both soybean and corn silage. All three of the soil quality indicators measured in this experiment responded positively to a rye cover crop. The effects of the rye cover crop were most pronounced in the top 5 cm of soil and for treatments with rye following corn silage.