Role of Cover Crops in Converting Perennial Pas...

Role of Cover Crops in Converting Perennial Pasture to Vegetable Ground

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 .

Product specs
Year: 2012
Length: 2 Pages
Author(s): Sally Worely
Location: Iowa | North Central
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This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.