perennials

Iowa State University agronomists and horticulturalists have joined forces to find the best relationship between row crops and perennial cover crops.

They were awarded a National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant this year as part of the agency’s effort to support research on agricultural systems and production of biomaterials and fuels. Ken Moore, David Laird, and Andy Lenssen, all professors of agronomy, and Shui-zhang Fei, associate professor of horticulture, make up the team.

Photo: Graduate student Allen Chen uses the light box he made to take photos of perennial cover crops in a test field west of Ames in September.

The team is studying turfgrass species to be used as perennial cover crops since they do well in cooler weather, Fei said. They planted several varieties of turf grasses in field trials west of Ames this fall to see which do not compete with corn production while still providing environmental benefits.

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