Cover Crops’ Influence on Soil Quality in No-Till Corn/Soybean Rotations
Cover crops play an important role in improving and maintaining soil quality.
Objective: To conduct on-farm research to study the effects of cover crops on soil quality, soil arthropod densities and bio-diversity.
The producer established replicated test plots of five cover crop treatments: annual ryegrass, crimson clover, annual ryegrass/crimson clover, hairy vetch and no-cover control. Cover crops are inter-seeded in corn during the summer and in soybeans during leaf drop.
Results: Data reveal that both density and diversity of arthropods increase with an increase in biomass ground cover. The type of cover effects species of arthropods differently. Grain yields were highest on plots treated with cover crops. Weeds posed the greatest problem in the control plots, while annual ryegrass provided the best weed control in cover crop plots.
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