Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/2/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Light and temperature limit establishment of cover crops in maize (Zea mays L.) in the northern Cornbelt. To determine the effects of light and temperature on cover crop growth, hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) and winter rye (Secale cereale L.) were planted at four dates (mid-July to mid-September) in a randomized block, split-split-plot design field experiment. Maize vegetation above the ear was removed (topping) at one of three dates after mid-August to enhance light penetration to the soil surface. Air temperature was measured at 2 m and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) was measured at the ground surface. Topping more than doubled PAR at the soil surface and significantly increased cover crop biomass. Vetch production ranged to about 1800 kg ha**1 and 1100 kg ha**1 with and without topping, respectively. Winter rye production ranged to about 2020 kg ha**1 and 760 kg ha**1 with and without topping, respectively. Vetch accumulated as much as 75 kg N ha**1 and winter rye accumulated as much as 66 kg N ha**1. Biomass production was correlated with cumulative PAR [Biomass kg ha**1 about equal to -1000 + 2* (the sum over time of all PAR Einsteins m-2)].