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Applied Research

Donna Gentry
Louisiana Master Farmer Program Coordinator, ANR Extension Agent
LSU AgCenter


Research has shown that integrating winter annual cover crops into a cropping system can potentially improve soil health properties, however, information regarding the impact of seeding rates and specific soil types is limited. To address these questions, three broadcast seeding rates of tillage radish (Raphanus sativus var. L), cereal rye (Secale cereale), and crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) were planted into a Moreland clay and Coushatta silt loam soil at the LSU AgCenter Dean Lee Research & Extension Center in Alexandria, Louisiana. Cover crops were planted in October of 2016 and 2017 and terminated the following March. A group five maturity soybean was planted into cover crop residue approximately six weeks after termination. Data collected included plant heights, plant population, grain yield, in addition to estimating a simulated economic return for each treatment. Data was analyzed using Glimmix Procedure of SAS 9.4 and means were separated using Fisher’s Least Significant Difference. Estimated net returns were calculated based on cover crop and soybean inputs, yield, and a USDA baseline projection of $9.56 per bushel for 2017-2027. Results indicated clay plant populations averaged 9,290 more plants per acre than silt loam, however silt loam plant populations were 4% greater than clay across both years. Yield was different by soil type and year, with silt loam plots yielding 41% higher than clay (52.1 and 30.9 bu/ac, respectively). Although 2017 yielded 39% higher than 2018 (51.1 and 31.9 bu/ac, respectively), cover crop seeding rate had no impact on soybean yield in this study. Net return estimates suggested higher rates of tillage radish and cereal rye were less profitable compared with a fallow treatment for Coushatta silt loam soil (all other species and seeding rates were equal to fallow). In contrast, all rates and species were equally profitable to fallow in Moreland clay except for low rate of cereal rye, which suggests potential economic return may be species and seeding rate dependent for different soil types. Compared with a fallow treatment, low and medium cover crop seeding rates may provide equal or greater monetary returns, while not negatively impacting production.



Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.

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Authors: D. S. Gentry, L. Fultz, N. Adumusilli
  1. Gentry, D. ANR Regional Agent, LSU AgCenter, Louisiana, 70803
  2. Fultz, L. Associate Professor, LSU AgCenter,
  3. Adumusilli, N. Associate Professor, LSU AgCenter,