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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #319286

Research Project: Sustainable Production, Profit, and Environmental Stewardship through Conservation Systems

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: Cover crop management influences residue biomass and subsequent weed suppression in a conservation agriculture corn and cotton rotation

Author
item Price, Andrew
item VAN SANTEN, EDZARD - Auburn University
item SARUNAITE, LINA - Lithuanian Institute Of Agriculture

Submitted to: Intech
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2016
Publication Date: 11/9/2016
Citation: Price, A.J., Van Santen, E., Sarunaite, L. 2016. Cover crop management influences residue biomass and subsequent weed suppression in a conservation agriculture corn and cotton rotation. In: Abdurakhmonov, I., editor. Cotton Research. Rijeka, Croatia:IntechPress. Available from: https://www.intechopen.com/books/cotton-research/cover-crop-management-influences-residue-biomass-and-subsequent-weed-suppression-in-a-conservation-a. https://doi.org/10.5772/64132
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5772/64132

Interpretive Summary: Use of winter cover crops is an integral component of conservation systems in corn and cotton. However, data concerning cover management and subsequent residue and weed biomass is needed. Field experiments evaluating crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.) preceding corn and cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) preceding cotton were conducted from autumn of 2003 through cash crop harvest in 2006 at the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station’s E.V. Smith Research Center at Shorter, AL, the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Centers at Belle Mina, AL and at the University of Florida’s West Florida Education and Research Center at Jay, FL. The treatments were five cover crop seeding dates each autumn and four cover crop termination dates each spring, based on the 30 year average date of the first 0 C temperatures at each location. The five seeding dates were: on the first average 0 C temperature date, two and four weeks prior and two and four weeks after the average 0 C temperature date. Termination dates were four, three, two, and one week prior to the average date for the establishment of the cash crop. Results showed that biomass production by winter covers was impacted with even a week’s delay in winter cover crop seeding resulting in a corresponding increase in summer annual weed biomass. Observations indicate that high cover biomass should decrease early season weed interference.

Technical Abstract: Use of winter cover crops is an integral component of conservation systems in corn and cotton. However, data concerning cover management and subsequent residue and weed biomass is needed. Field experiments were conducted from autumn of 2003 through cash crop harvest in 2006 at the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station’s E.V. Smith Research Center at Shorter, AL, the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Centers at Belle Mina, AL and at the University of Florida’s West Florida Education and Research Center at Jay, FL from autumn of 2004 through harvest in 2006. The treatments were five cover crop seeding dates each autumn and four cover crop termination dates each spring. The seeding dates were based on the 30 year average date of the first 0 C temperatures at each location. The five seeding dates were: on the first average 0 C temperature date, two and four weeks prior and two and four weeks after the average 0 C temperature date. Termination dates were four, three, two, and one week prior to the average date for the establishment of the cash crop, which were based the long-term average soil temperature. Winter cover crop rotation included crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.) preceding corn and cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) preceding cotton. Results showed biomass production by winter covers was impacted with even a weeks's delay in winter cover crop seeding can result in a corresponding increase in summer annual weed biomass. More than ten times difference in biomass produced by clover was observed when clover was planted on the earliest date and terminated on last date compared to late planting and early termination. Rye produced almost eight times more biomass in the same comparison. Correspondingly, weed biomass was 556 kg/ha in the treatment with least rye biomass, 8 times higher compared to the treatment with greatest rye biomass. Weed biomass sampled in clover were less than in rye even though the difference was only 34 kg/ha in case of clover. Observations indicate that high cover biomass should decrease early season weed interference and facilitate flexibility of POST application timing.