North Central SARE Grantee-Produced Info Product
Winter Annual Weed Suppression in Rye–Vetch Cover Crop Mixtures
The unique and complementary traits of cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) and the legume hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) make winter annual cover crop mixtures of the two species promising for vegetable cropping systems. Informed management of the relative species proportions in the mixture could provide an important means of optimizing performance to serve various farmer goals.
In association with Zachary Hayden's NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grant project, field experiments were conducted on loamy sand soils at two sites in Holt, MI, between 2008 and 2011 to evaluate the relative effects of cereal rye, hairy vetch, and rye–vetch mixture cover crops on the biomass and density of winter annual weed communities.
Hayden's research supports that winter cover crops composed of rye or vetch (or both) can significantly suppress winter annual weeds. While all his cover crop treatments suppressed winter annual weeds, mixtures with higher proportions of rye were most effective. The suppressiveness of rye-vetch mixtures appeared to be driven by the relative species composition, with mixtures containing higher proportions of rye generally providing better winter annual weed control.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) GNC09-108, A Novel Approach for Optimizing the Benefits of Cereal-Legume Cover Crop Mixtures in Vegetable Cropping Systems.
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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.