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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 #318627

Research Project: Cropping Systems for Enhanced Sustainability and Environmental Quality in the Upper Midwest

Location: Agroecosystems Management Research

Title: Cover crops in vegetable production systems

item Nair, A - Iowa State University
item Kaspar, Thomas - Tom

Submitted to: Extension Publications
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/14/2015
Publication Date: 7/15/2015
Citation: Nair, A., Kaspar, T.C. 2015. Cover crops in vegetable production systems. Extension Publications. HORT 3026. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Current vegetable production systems require an intensive amount Current vegetable production systems require an intensive amount of work and inputs, and if not properly managed could have detrimental effects on soil and the environment. Practices such as intensive tillage, increased herbicide use, and reduced organic matter inputs add additional stress to the sustain ability of vegetable production systems. Growers need the tools and best practices to make production systems sustainable without compromising farm productivity and profitability. Cover crops serve as a valuable production tool in preserving environmental sustainability of vegetable cropping systems and render numerous benefits to soil, vegetable crops, and the grower. They improve the sustainability of vegetable production systems by reducing soil erosion, compaction and synthetic nitrogen inputs, suppressing weeds, increasing soil organic matter and water infiltration, enhancing soil biology, and providing habitat for beneficial insects and natural enemies of pests.