Comparative performance of drill and broadcast winter cover crops in nursery production and their impact on arthropod communities

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2018: $284,869.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2021
Grant Recipient: Tennessee State University
Region: Southern
State: Tennessee
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Karla Addesso
Tennessee State University
Cover crops provide an array of ecological services, including improving soil quality, managing weeds, or reducing runoff. In addition to these benefits, cover crops can provide habitat for both beneficial insects and crop pests. Depending on which cover crop species a grower selects, the planting method will play a key role in the germination and performance of the crop. The health of a cover crop will subsequently affect the scale of its benefits as well as its impact on arthropod communities. The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of two winter cover crop species, Crimson Clover (Trifolium. incarnatum L.) and Triticale (× Triticosecale W.) and two planting methods (Drill and Broadcast). Crimson clover is utilized for its ability to fix nitrogen and as a habitat for pollinators and other nectar feeding beneficials. Triticale can reduce weed incidence and modify soil quality over time. Cover crop establishment and biomass was assessed, and arthropod communities were sampled using pitfall and sticky card traps. The results of this study indicate that Drill Triticale established better than Broadcast Triticale, whereas crimson clover performed equally well in Drill and Broadcast planting methods. The results suggest that there is a positive correlation between overall arthropod populations and the cover crop biomass as well relationships between crop species and presence/absence of some arthropod families. The results of this research will assist growers in selecting the cover crop and planting method that best suits their needs.
Conference/Presentation Material
Axel Gonzalez, Tennessee State University
Paul O'Neal, Tennessee State University
Karla Addesso, Tennessee State University
Target audience:
Ordering info:
Karla M Addesso
[email protected]
612 B Morrison St
McMinnville, TN 37110
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.