North Central SARE Grantee-Produced Info Product
Role of Cover Crops in Converting Perennial Pasture to Vegetable Ground
Scattergood Farm in West Branch, Iowa, converted pasture from perennial alfalfa and clover to vegetable crop ground from summer 2010 to spring 2011. This research report from Practical Farmers of Iowa summarizes the effects of two cover crops or no cover crop on numbers of weeds and compaction measured by soil density in a vegetable crop following a transition from a pasture.
Scattergood Farm measured the effects of two cover crops or no cover crop on numbers of weeds and compaction measured by soil density in a vegetable crop following a transition from a pasture. The treatments tested were buckwheat followed by winter rye mixed with hairy vetch cover crop, buckwheat followed by tillage radish cover crop, and no cover crop. In the past Scattergood Farm has transitioned pasture to vegetable-production fields with excessive tillage and faced significant weed pressure and compaction in these newly transitioned fields. Results from this study did not show statistically significant differences in numbers of weeds between cover crop or no cover crop treatments. However, farm manager, Mark Quee, felt the cover crops assisted his conversion from pasture ground to vegetable plots. He felt the cover crops helped build soil and reduced weed pressure significantly in preparation for vegetable plants.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) LNC09-313, Farmer Field School Approach to Increasing Cover Crop Adoption in Iowa and Minnesota, and YENC10-023 , Green Manure vs. Brown Manure in an Organic Vegetable System.
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Project products are developed as part of SARE grants. They are made available with support from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed within project products do not necessarily reflect the view of the SARE program or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.