Can a Summer Cover Crop of Sudan-sorghum Reduce the Detrimental Effects of Tillage in Fall-planted Garlic?

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2003: $9,629.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Laura Masterson
47th Avenue Farm


  • Vegetables: garlic


  • Crop Production: continuous cropping, double cropping, no-till, conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, networking
  • Natural Resources/Environment: hedges - grass, soil stabilization
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    The three farmers in this project are seeking ways to reduce tillage and protect against erosion in their garlic crops. Typically, the farmers plant a summer cover crop or cash crop and till it into the soil a month before planting the garlic. Heavy rains usually begin at planting time, subjecting the land to erosion, a problem compounded by garlic’s skimpy root system. While mulching can stem erosion, it is too expensive to use on large fields. The farmers will plant in June a summer cover crop of Sudan grass, which relieves compaction, inhibits weeds and suppresses nematodes. The Sudan grass will be mowed mid season and again in September, after which the garlic will be planted directly into the Sudan sod. That should cut tillage costs and prevent winter erosion.

    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.