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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #344880

Title: Cereal cover crop performance

item Balkcom, Kipling
item Duzy, Leah
item Price, Andrew
item Kornecki, Ted

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/2/2017
Publication Date: 10/22/2017
Citation: Balkcom, K.S., Duzy, L.M., Price, A.J., Kornecki, T.S. 2017. Cereal cover crop performance [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: A cereal cover crop combined with conservation tillage can enhance soil productivity of degraded southeastern soils. Direct comparisons regarding the performance of different cereal cover crops are limited. This experiment, located at Auburn University’s Wiregrass Research and Extension Center in Headland, AL on a Fuquay sand (loamy, kaolinitic, thermic Arenic Plinthic Kandiudults), was designed to compare cover crop biomass performance across nitrogen (N) rates during the 2009-2012 growing seasons. The experiment consisted of a randomized complete block design with a split plot restriction. Main plots were cover crops [oat (Avena sativa L.), rye (Secale cereale L.), and ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.)] and subplots were N rate (0, 34, 67, and 101 kg N ha-1 as commercial fertilizer). Cover crop biomass responded linearly to applied N (P = <0.0001), but the biomass response to N varied by cover crops (Cover crop x N rate; P = 0.0008). Rye was the most responsive to N, followed by oat, with ryegrass the least responsive. Nitrogen content also responded linearly to applied N (P = <0.0001), but the interaction between N and cover crops was weak (P = 0.0963). Nitrogen content averaged across N rates (P = <0.0001) was similar between rye and oat, but averaged ~53% greater than ryegrass. These results support recommending rye as a single species cover crop when high biomass production is preferred.