Cover Crop Influence on Stored Soil Water Availability to Subsequent Crops

Project Overview

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2016: $14,995.00
Projected End Date: 03/14/2018
Grant Recipient: Clemson University
Region: Southern
State: South Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Sruthi Narayanan
Clemson University

Information Products


  • Agronomic: soybeans


  • Crop Production: cover crops, water management
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research

    Proposal abstract:

    Despite the potential benefits of cover crops, few grain producers in the Southeast have included cover crops as part of their cropping systems because of several challenges. One of the major concerns is the possibility that cover crops may reduce the amount of water stored in the soil profile for the next grain crop, potentially reducing yields.

    To address the growing concern of cover crops depleting the stored soil water leading to water stress for the following cash crop, we are interested in evaluating the common cover crop species in South Carolina for water use and biomass production. We will conduct our study on fall cover crops as summer cover crops are not common in this region. We will evaluate water use of cover crop mixes as well as individual species as multi-species mixes are currently recommended by USDA-NRCS.

    It is imperative to test the effect of cover crops on stored soil water before they are introduced to the cropping system for sustainably managing weeds and improving soil health.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Evaluate the common fall cover crops in South Carolina for water use, biomass production, and water use efficiency to identify cover crops that improve available soil moisture for the following cash crop.

    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.