Integration and management of cover crops is challenging due to the immediate time and cost constraints while potential benefits may be long-term. Adjusting cover crop production methods may balance these challenges while meeting producer goals. But there are many cover crop species and mixtures to choose from, especially with winter wheat in the rotation. Moreover, there are many different cover crop termination methods, such as winter kill, spray, or tillage. With the complex interactions of cover crop planting and termination options, research is needed to identify most effective strategies. The proposed research will evaluate, in terms of grain corn yield and profit margins, various cover crop termination methods.
In a soybean, winter wheat-cover crop, grain corn rotation, the objectives are:
- To evaluate the impact of increasing cover crop diversity on primary productivity by comparing single species, bi- and poly-cultures on growth and N accumulation in the cover crop and in following corn
- To quantify the impact of various cover crop termination methods on grain corn production by comparing strip tillage, no-till and bio-strips on corn emergence, phenology (pollination/silking, maturity), and yield
- To quantify cover crop and corn response to these strategies across the province (Ridgetown, Winchester, New Liskeard)