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Discover best practices for covered crops to optimize crop production

Soybeans growing in Pennsylvania fields in the summer of 2016. This study investigated the effects of rye seeding rate, end time, and nitrogen rate. This field used high sowing rates, high nitrogen and planted greens. Credit: Heidi Reed

Planting covered crops is a beneficial agricultural practice. One of their many advantages is that they cover the soil, for example during the winter, when farmers are unable to plant cash crops such as corn and soybeans. But it’s not as simple as growing a cover crop during the growing season. Farmers need to make multiple decisions about optimizing the production of cover crops.


Researchers like Heidi Reed of Pennsylvania State University want to help farmers Make the best decisions about their covering crops.In a recent study, Reed and her team found rye seeding rates, end times, and nitrogen rate.The study was published in Agricultural JournalA publication of the American Agricultural Association.

Studies focusing on the impact of crops on both soil Soybeans after planting. Their research was conducted over three years in two locations in Pennsylvania. “This kind of applied research is very important. Sustainable practices We need to work for the farmers, “Reed explains. “We want these methods to be adopted on a large scale,” he said.

The sowing rate of rye is the amount of rye seeds planted in a particular area. Researchers have tested three different seeding rates. Similarly, the nitrogen ratio is the amount of nitrogen fertilizer applied to each region. They tested two different quantities in the study.

The end time is more complicated. It has to do with when cover crops are killed to make room for crops that farmers grow and sell. It was soybeans in the study. “Pre-planting killing” means that the covered crop is killed before the soybeans are planted. “Planting green” is when you kill a covered crop after planting soybeans. This means that the covered crop is growing green when the soybeans are planted. Researchers were curious about how end time affects soybeans.

Discover best practices for covered crops to optimize crop production

Researchers cut rye biomass from the fields as part of their research. According to the survey results, the seeding amount of rye did not affect the biomass or soil moisture of rye, nor did it affect soybeans. Combined with planting greens, higher nitrogen rates reduced soybean yields. However, green planting, which combines the lowest rye sowing rate with the lowest nitrogen rate, was able to keep soybean yields stable and did not require as much rye seeds and fertilizers as the other options. Credit: Heidi Reed

“The timing of the end can have an impact on soybeans, as it can significantly change the environment in which soybeans are planted,” says Reed. “The timing of the end affects not only the size of the cover crop. The cover crop that ends later has a longer growth time and therefore has more biomass than the cover crop that ends early. The timing of the end is It also affects whether the cover crop plant is dead or alive. soy planting. “

Reed and her team assumed that the seeding amount affected the rye biomass, that is, the total growth of the plant. This meant that it could also affect soybeans in some way. They thought of something similar about the proportion of nitrogen. They hypothesized that more nitrogen would result in more rye biomass.

However, the research results were mixed. They found that the sowing rate of rye did not affect the biomass or soil moisture of rye and did not affect soybeans. Combined with planting greens, higher nitrogen rates reduced soybean yields. However, green planting, which combines the lowest rye sowing rate with the lowest nitrogen rate, was able to keep soybean yields stable and did not require as much rye seeds and fertilizers as the other options.

Overall, planting greens had many advantages. Having lived longer, the biomass of rye has doubled. The soil was dry at the time of planting, but planting greens saved water in the soil later in the season and kept it cool.

“Our results show that farmers in a climate similar to Pennsylvania reduced the sowing of rye-coated crops to 34 kg / hectare (kg / ha), applied 34 kg / ha of fertilized nitrogen, and increased soybean yields. Benefits of planting especially green while maintaining Soil moisture “Management,” says Reed.

“This study is personally interesting to me because I am passionate about promoting cover crops,” says Reed. “Finding ways to lower recruitment barriers Cover the crop It is very satisfying that it can help farmers increase their profitability. ”


The study is investigating the role of cover crops in the control of glyphosate-tolerant Himemukashimodoki.


For more information:
Does Heidi K. Reed et al, winter rye sowing rate, end time, and N rate affect no-till soybeans? , Agricultural Journal (2022). DOI: 10.1002 / agj2.21030

Quote: Discovering best practices for covered crops to optimize crop production (31 May 2022) 31 May 2022 https://phys.org/news/2022-05-uncovering-crops-optimize- Obtained from crop-production.html

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Discover best practices for covered crops to optimize crop production

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