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Cover Crops and Soil Health

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An overview how cover crops can benefit soil health

An overview how cover crops can benefit soil health

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  • 1. T.M. Reinbott*, K.M. Clark, D.Peterson*, and R.G. Hoormann
  • 2. Crimson CloverHairy Vetch
  • 3. Sesbania Sunn Hemp Cowpea
  • 4.  Each Species of Legume has a Different Species of Bacteria You must match them together.
  • 5.  Very Short Growing season-60 days Some Weed Control- Allelopathy Inexpensive Seed-much like wheat or rye Attract Beneficial Insects Many uses for Vegetable production Nutrient Cycling
  • 6.  Inexpensive Seed Rye is very winter hardy Spring Oats is not winter hardy and will winter kill- can be used to our advantage Rye tremendous dry matter Suppress weeds  Allelopathy or Blocking Light Good to mix with legumes
  • 7.  Plant in Fall Overwinter-most of the time Deep Roots-5-6 ft Scavenge Nitrogen Dense matt controls weeds Can become a weed!  Herbicide resistance problem
  • 8.  Late Summer Planted Sequester Nitrogen Loosen Soil Weed Control?
  • 9. Fall Spring
  • 10. From Steve Groff No Cover CropCover Crop
  • 11. McVay, et al. 1989,Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J
  • 12. Nutrient Scavenge, Loosen Soil, Weed Control
  • 13. Ohio State Loosen Soil- University Courtesy of Increase Steve Groff root growth Open and water field infiltration?TillageRadish®field Soil compaction decreased by >40%
  • 14.  Treatment Water-Aggregate Stability Pentrometer Bulk Density % Increase over control % increase Mg/m3 Corn/Soybean 1.32 Corn/rye/soybean/rye 9 19 1.24 Corn/rye/soybean/hairy vetch 13 8 1.23 Corn/rye/soybean/Hv+rye 17 16 1.23 From Villamil, et al 2006
  • 15. From MU Bradford-2012
  • 16.  K Content, ppm Crop 0-3 inch 3-6 inch 6-12 inch None 105 b 100 ab 109 a Rye 97 b 89 c 96 ab Crimson Clr 96 b 72 d 71 c Hairy Vetch 127 a 108 a 86 bc From Hargrove, 1986. Agronomy Journal
  • 17.  Shoot Root Shoot N Root N Shoot N Root N Dry Wt Dry Wt Content Content After Corn lb/acre lb/acre % % lb/acre lb/acre Radish 2165 2599 1.86 1.15 39.3 30 Rye 1757 2.39 37.9 After Soybean 3345 1989 3.93 3.12 132 62 2545 3.94 100 From Dean and Weil, 2009 Journal of Environmental Quality
  • 18. 40 35 Adapted from Bah, et al, 2007 30 25 Triple Super Phosphate Legume+Fertilizer% P Utilizaton 20 15 10 5 0 8 1 2 Weeks After P Application 15
  • 19.  Cover Crop Roots Feed the Soil Microbes  Greater Crop Diversity equals greater Microbe DiversityBacteria-100 million-1 Billion!Fungal Filaments-Several YardsProtoza-Several ThousandNematodes-10-20
  • 20.  Cover Crops Attract Butterflies, Bee (including Bumble Bees and other Native Bees), beneficial beetles, lacewings, etc.

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