This project will develop best management practices for interseeding cover crops into a corn cash crop. Our objective is to evaluate the effects of interseeded cover crop species, establishment timing, and seeding method on corn productivity. This objective will help clarify treatment effects on: (1) cover crop establishment, biomass accumulation and nutrient uptake; (2) corn growth, productivity, and nutrient uptake; and (3) weed community and diversity.
Issue: Cover crops are a conservation practice that can have tremendous benefits for improving soil health and reducing nutrient losses. There is limited research available on management practices that provide farmers information to facilitate cover crop adoption and minimize potential yield limiting factors.
Cover crops are an integral component of cropping systems because they grow in the fall and early spring - that is, times when the soil would not have a growing corn or soybean crop. At present, cover crops are grown to benefit soil quality and reduce nitrate loss. In the future, ongoing research at ISU promises to identify additional benefits such as weed suppression. Cover crop acres are growing exponentially.