Evaluation of Reduced and Strip-tillage Cover Crop Sweet Potato Production Systems on Soil Health, Sweet Potato Growth, and Weed Management Programs

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2018: $16,499.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2020
Grant Recipient: North Carolina State University
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:


  • Vegetables: sweet potatoes


  • Crop Production: no-till, strip tillage
  • Pest Management: weed ecology


    Sweetpotato is an economically important crop for North Carolina growers. Current sweetpotato production systems rely heavily on cultivation. The lack of chemical and non-chemical weed control methods further increases reliance on cultivation. Excessive cultivation is detrimental to soil health. Reduced tillage cover crop systems have the potential to reduce reliance on cultivation and herbicides by providing an alternative weed control method. These systems also increase soil organic matter content and soil structure. A study was conducted to evaluate the effect of a reduced tillage rye cover crop system on soil, crop growth, and yield. Another study was conducted to evaluate weed control programs in this system. Sweetpotato canopy width increased at a greater rate in the conventional tillage system. Similarly, canopy height of Covington and Bayou Bell increased at a greater rate in the conventional than the reduced-tillage system. In both production systems, herbicide programs that included indaziflam, flumioxazin, and linuron tended to have greater weed control than other programs. The knowledge gained is being disseminated to growers and the scientific community through field days, extension articles, and refereed journal publications.

    Project objectives:

    1. Determine how a reduced-tillage production system influences sweetpotato growth and yield components compared to a conventional tillage system.
    2. Develop weed management programs in a reduced tillage system. Determine how a reduced-tillage system responds under intense weed pressure with and without herbicides.
    3. Disseminate lessons learned and recommendations through grower meetings, extension articles, and refereed journal publications.
    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.