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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Self-Seeding Winter Cereal Cover Crops in Soybean

Authors
item Singer, Jeremy
item Kohler, Keith
item Mc Donald, P - IA STATE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 7, 2006
Publication Date: January 1, 2007
Citation: Singer, J.W., Kohler, K.A., Mc Donald, P.B. 2007. Self-seeding winter cereal cover crops in soybean. Agronomy Journal. 99(1):73-79.

Interpretive Summary: The environmental benefits of cover crops have been widely reported. Nevertheless, adoption of cover crops in agronomic farming systems is low. Cover crop systems that do not require annual planting may increase their adoption. The objectives of this study were to compare self-seeding and competitiveness of winter wheat, triticale, and rye using different planting configurations and management growing concurrently with soybean. Cover crop systems that produced greater cover crop seed also competed with soybean more than systems with lower seed production. Using wheat as a cover crop shows the greatest promise for balancing cover crop seed production and minimizing soybean yield loss. Organic soybean producers can benefit from these systems because the cover crop also provides weed suppression, although additional research is needed to develop less competitive self-seeding systems for conventional production systems.

Technical Abstract: The soil protection and nutrient scavenging benefits of cover crops have been widely reported. Nevertheless, adoption of cover crops in agronomic farming systems is low. Cover crop systems that do not require annual planting may increase their adoption. The objectives of this study were to compare self-seeding and competitiveness of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), triticale (x Triticosecale Wittmack), and rye (Secale cereale L.) using different planting configurations and management growing concurrently with soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]. Cover crops were planted with two or four 19 cm rows between each 76 cm soybean row. A no cover crop check treatment was also included for comparison. Cover crop species and species by management system interactions were not significant for seed production or soybean grain yield. Averaged across management system, cereals produced 10,656 and 4051 seeds m-2 in 2004 and 2005. The two row no-chop treatment (2RNC) produced the most seed (20,347 and 14,511 seeds m-2) in 2004 and 2005, but also lowered soybean yield the greatest (45 and 40%). The four row treatment with a late glyphosate band over the row (4RL) was the least competitive and yielded 3114 and 3717 kg ha-1 compared to 4019 and 4391 kg ha-1 in the check. Wheat had the greatest self-seeding of the cereals, averaging about 32% of the original plant density. The four row treatment without glyphosate (4R) could be used in organic production systems, although additional research is needed to develop less competitive self-seeding systems for conventional production systems.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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