Cereal Cover Crops for Weed Control in Organic and Conventional Dry Bean Production Systems

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2023: $30,000.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2025
Host Institution Award ID: G253-23-W9212
Grant Recipient: University of Idaho
Region: Western
State: Idaho
Graduate Student:
Principal Investigator:
Albert Adjesiwor
University of Idaho

Information Products


  • Agronomic: barley, triticale, wheat
  • Vegetables: beans


  • Crop Production: cover crops, cropping systems, no-till
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Pest Management: allelopathy, chemical control, integrated pest management, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    There has been substantial interest in cover crops in our region, especially from farmers who grow specialty and small-acreage crops like dry bean. This has been driven primarily by goals of weed suppression, erosion control, and protecting crops from wind damage. Despite the profound interest, the adoption of cover crops in Idaho remains one of the lowest in the United States. Demonstrating the short-term weed suppression and potential economic benefits may increase the adoption and integration of cover crops into cropping systems. Cereal cover crops can be effective at suppressing weeds, however, maximizing suppressive ability is dependent on management practices that promote biomass production at the time of cash crop planting.  Cover crops will be planted in the fall (wheat, barley, and triticale) and spring (barley). Cereal cover crops will either be terminated with herbicide (glyphosate), harvested for forage or tilled (organic system). In the conventional system, there will be three preemergence and postemergence herbicide treatments. Data will be collected on soil moisture, soil temperature, soil health, dry bean stand density, weed control, crop yield, as well as economic analysis. It is expected that cover crops will increase labile carbon, suppress weeds, and not negatively impact bean yield. Results will be disseminated to stakeholders through field days, bean school presentations, extension publications, and peer-reviewed publications. Results from this project will provide the foundational knowledge needed by stakeholders to adopt and integrate cover crops to maximize weed suppressive benefit, reduce reliance on herbicides, and minimize the potential for negative yield impacts.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Research Objectives:

    • Quantify biomass production and weed suppression of fall-planted cover crops
      • Evaluate how termination practice (chemical termination vs haying) affects weed suppression ability of fall-planted cereal cover crops in dry bean.
    • Evaluate weed suppression and dry bean response to cereal cover crops in an organic production system.
    • Evaluate changes in soil labile carbon in cereal cover crop – dry bean production systems.
    • Use crop yield and input cost to quantify the economic impact of integrating cereal cover crops and herbicides for weed control in dry bean.

    Educational objective(s):

    • Educate producers and stakeholders on cover crops and management practices that optimize weed suppression and soil health benefits, and profitability
    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.