The impacts of fall cover crops on diseases in spring planted soybeans were conducted at 6 locations in Illinois. Soybean stand establishment was highest in rye plots inoculated with Rhizoctonia solani, as compared to the fallow plots, and Rhizoctonia root severity rot was lowest in the rye plots. Counts of soybean cyst nematodes were reduced in rye and rape plots at several locations. Greenhouse assays of field soils showed reductions of Rhizoctonia root rot and sudden death syndrome in rye and rape soils. No differences in other pathogens or microbial communities were detected among soils from the cover crop treatments.
The primary objective of this project was to have growers, researchers, and extension personnel collaborated in university and on-farm trials in western, central, and southern Illinois to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of using cover crops for disease suppression in soybeans. As a result, growers and the academic community would increase their knowledge on the use of four cover crops for suppressing soybean diseases and better understand how cover crops can integrate with current production practices. Growers and researchers would share their results at field days and disease management workshops. Results would be reported on websites, in popular-press and scientific publications, and at research and extension meetings. Participating growers would serve as resources to help educate other growers on the usefulness of using cover crops.