- J. Sadler Richards, Conservation Management Systems, A Division of Ecologistics
Ltd., Lucan, Ont.
(Tech. Transfer Report Summaries)
View / Download Final Report [2049 KB pdf]
Associated SWEEP/LSP Research
Completed: May, 1992
cover crop, barley, annual ryegrass, oats, corn, soybeans, winter wheat,
hairy vetch, no-till
During 1990-1991 three separate field scale cover crop trials were conducted
in Middlesex, Perth and Huron counties in southwestern Ontario. The first
trial looked at broadcasting barley and annual ryegrass into corn when the
corn was at approximately the twelve leaf stage. This study was located
at five locations, two of which were managed in an organic fashion and the
remaining sites were band sprayed. The second area of study looked at seeding
spring cereals (oats and barley) into soybeans at 10% leaf drop and prior
to harvest. A total of five cooperators participated in this part of the
study. The following year, 1991, the best performing treatments from the
aforementioned studies were carried one step further. This trial examined
seeding rates of 1/2X, 1X and 2X the recommended rate for annual ryegrass
broadcast into corn and barley and oats seeded into soybeans at 10% leaf
drop. A total of nine sites were involved in this project.
(From Technology Transfer Report Summaries - A. Hayes, L. Cruickshank, Co-Chairs)
More than adequate rainfall was received around the time of cover crop
application in 1990. However in 1991 insufficient precipitation levels were
recorded at this time which had a dramatic effect on the performance of
the cover crops, especially the annual ryegrass.
In both years, the spring cereals applied into soybeans at 10% leaf drop
at the recommended rate increased residue levels by late fall relative to
soybean stubble alone. Oats performed slightly better than barley in 1990
with the opposite occurring in 1991.
Practical considerations related to labour needs, weather and the timing
of cover crop establishment for adequate fall growth did not favour the
planting of spring cereals prior to soybean harvest.
In the first year annual ryegrass underseeded into corn produced considerably
more top growth than either of the barley treatments by late fall. Due to
lack of rainfall the annual ryegrass treatments in the second year performed
at less than a satisfactory level.
The soybeans were slightly damaged at time of application as the cooperator's
tractor, mounted with a seed broadcaster, was used to apply the seed. The
main crop yields in the cover crop establishment year or the subsequent
year were not significantly affected by any of the cover crop treatments.
Taking into consideration residue levels, rainfall simulation results
and seed costs, annual ryegrass applied at the recommended rate of 15 kg/ha
would be the choice of most producers.
The objectives of the cover crop study were:
- to determine the effect of species, planting date and method of application,
on current and subsequent crop growth and yield
- to determine the effect of species, date and planting method on residue
- to document costs associated with specific cover crop systems
- to prepare general recommendations for cover crop system management
for species, date and planting method
- to evaluate the response of cooperating producers and extension workers
to the systems demonstrated
The evaluation of the success of the systems was based on the following:
- establishment of the cover crop
- provision of ground cover
- weed control
- effects on the current crop in the establishment year and the following
Experiment number one field studied barley and oats seeded at 10% leaf
drop in soybeans and seed broadcast at soybean harvest. Due to inclement
weather six row barley species were used instead. Corn was planted in the
spring of the following year.
Experiment 2 studied spring barley and annual ryegrass which were seeded
into separate standing corn crops, early July.
Experiment 3 studied hairy vetch no-till drilled into winter wheat stubble
in August, to compare the effect of timing of kill on growth and yield of
no-till corn the following year. However, due to wet conditions the seed
rotted and there was no germination or growth of hairy vetch. As a result
the study was discontinued.
Experiment 4 studied various application rates of barley, oats, and annual
ryegrass. The barley and oats were broadcast into soybeans at 10% leaf drop.
Annual ryegrass was applied into corn at the second interrow cultivation.
The study set out to examine cover crop system effects on current and future
crops. The two years allowed for the study is not long enough. Due to adverse
weather conditions and other circumstances many of the studies ran only
for one year.
The management varied from site to site as the farm management varied.
This makes it difficult to draw conclusions and compare cover crops. The
seeding rate was extremely variable and frequently was not the rate that
was to be studied, making comparisons more difficult.
The report is difficult to read, as sites not treatments are compared.
The results do not show any clear advantage to using intercrops in corn
or soybeans where sufficient residue exists and is left on the soil surface.
- SWEEP Report #12 - Choice and Management of
Cover Crop Species and Varieties for Use in Row Crop Dominant Rotations
- SWEEP Report #27 - Cereal Cover Crop Study
- SWEEP Report #36 - Red Clover Cover Crop Studies
- SWEEP Report #43 - The Use of Cover Crops for
- SWEEP Report #57A - Field Testing of Cover
Crop Systems for Corn and Soybean Production
- LSP7005 - Crop Rotations and Cover
Crop Effects on Erosion Control, Tomato Yields and Soil Properties in Southwestern
- LSP7009 - A Cover Cropping Strategy
for First Early Potato Production
Future Research: ( ) indicates reviewers suggestion for
priority, A - high, C - low.
Thursday, May 19, 2011 03:58:42 PM