Cover Crop Cold Tolerance for High Tunnels

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2016: $10,875.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2017
Grant Recipient: University of Minnesota
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Julie Grossman
University of Minnesota


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: cover crops, nutrient cycling, tissue analysis
  • Production Systems: general crop production
  • Soil Management: green manures

    Proposal abstract:

    High tunnel rotations in the upper Midwest rarely incorporate legume cover crops, in part because little is known about freezing tolerance and management options.  This project will use controlled environments to mimic high tunnel conditions and determine freezing tolerance for red clover and hairy vetch plants grown under high tunnel conditions with for a gradient of freezing temperatures from -10°C to -26°C.  The resulting information will improve new management recommendations.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Evaluate freezing tolerance of two common legume cover crops, red clover and hairy vetch, for high tunnel environments
    2. Assess freezing temperature effect on cover crop biomass, percent carbon, percent nitrogen, and carbon:nitrogen ratio
    3. Provide guidelines through extension for freezing tolerance of red clover and hairy vetch to farmers who are interested in using these legumes as winter annual cover crops in high tunnels
    4. Share information with farmers through regional meetings and field days
    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.