Rolled cover crop mulches can suppress weeds in subsequent cash crops, reduce the need for herbicides, and allow organic no-till cash crop establishment. The is study investigated the weed suppressiveness of a cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) cover crop mulch across varying weed seedbank density. Cereal rye was seeded at two dates in the fall and terminated at five dates in the spring to create biomass ranging from 100 to 1600 g m -2. The first three termination dates included both herbicide (glyphosate) and rolling of the rye, while later three dates were only rolled. Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] was no-till planted after rye termination, and weed biomass and soybean yield were assessed. Spring termination date more strongly affected cereal rye biomass than fall planting date; a termination delay of 5 to 15 d compensated for a planting delay of 30 d. Weed biomass generally declined with increasing cereal rye biomass, and this relationship was stronger at higher weed seedbank densities. Supplemental weed control reduced weed biomass compared to no supplemental control and postherbicide was more effective than cultivation. While increasing cereal rye biomass was associated with a decline in soybean yield in 2009, it did not consistently impact soybean stand. Instead soybean stand establishment appeared to be impacted by high cover crop biomass and changing edaphic conditions at planting. Future research should focus on improved technology for direct seeding in high residue environments and developing longer term cropping systems less reliant on tillage and herbicides.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science