PERFORMANCE OF SUMMER-SEEDED COVER CROPS
Extension Educator - Crops
University of Minnesota
Farmers are not always able to plant their crop due to extreme conditions (e.g. a prevent plant situation due to an excessively wet spring), or areas of a field may become devoid of a crop (e.g. drown-out spots) beyond normal planting dates. Planting a cover crop in these areas can reduce soil erosion and prevent fallow syndrome, which occurs when a lack of living plant roots from the previous year decreases the population of beneficial soil mycorrhizae which aid in the uptake of nutrients. Limited information exists regarding the performance of cover crops seeded mid-season in Minnesota. This research trial was initiated to determine the biomass production of various cover crops seeded mid-season. This information in turn, will be used to help guide cover crop species selection when prevent plant or other establishment/stand issues occur. Eight single cover crop species and one mix (3 cover crop species) were seeded with a drill in small plots (20ft x 20ft) on 7/13/22 at the Southwest Research Center and Outreach Center near Lamberton, MN, in a RCBD with 4 replications. Biomass samples were collected from ~11 ft2 on 8/26/22 and from ~3 ft2 on 10/31/22 in each plot. ANOVA was conducted on the results and means were separated using Fisher’s Least Significant Difference (LSD; p=0.05). Within a sampling date, significant differences were found among the cover crops in the amount of biomass produced. Despite a drought during the growing season, sorghum sudangrass (Sorghum x drummondii) performed exceptionally well compared to the other cover crops evaluated, resulting in an average of 6,823 pound/acres of dry biomass on 8/26/23. Meanwhile, crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) and Teff (Eragrostis tef) resulted in only 81 and 337 pounds/acre of dry biomass, respectively, at this time. Most cover crops increased their biomass by the 10/31/22 sampling date, but still did not reach the amount produced by sorghum sudangrass.
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: Lizabeth Stahl, Axel Garcia y Garcia
Stahl, L. Extension Educator - Crops, University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota, 56171
Garcia y Garcia, A. Sustainable Cropping Systems Specialist, University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota, 56182