Cover Crops: Pest Management

Cover Crops: Pest Management

Cover Crops: Pest Management

Smother winter weeds and break pest cycles by planting the right cover crop species.

Buckwheat Cover Crop Handbook


Buckwheat has been used to suppress weeds on Northeastern farms for 400 years. This handbook outlines how to use buckwheat as an economical weed-control tool, with recommendations based on extensive grower surveys, original research and on-farm trials.

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Influence of Cover Crops on Insect Pests and Predators in Conservation Tillage Cotton


Results of a two-year research project to determine the impact of several cover crops on pest and predator insects in conservation tillage cotton.

A Sunn Hemp Cover Crop for Soil Health and Nematode Management


These University of Hawaii fact sheets and virtual field day explain how to use sunn hemp as a cover crop to control weeds, nematodes and other pests, add soil nutrients, prevent erosion, and contribute to a more robust and complex community of beneficial nematodes.

Winter Annual Weed Suppression in Rye–Vetch Cover Crop Mixtures


Zachary Hayden received an NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grant to evaluate the relative effects of rye, hairy vetch, and rye-vetch mixture cover crops on the biomass and density of winter annual weed communities. This SARE research supports that winter cover crops composed of rye or vetch (or both) can significantly suppress winter annual weeds. 

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Invertebrate Pests and Their Natural Enemies in Conservation Tillage Cropping Systems


In this webinar by Dr. Mary Barbercheck and Maggie Douglas, learn the basics about key early-season insect and slug pests that can pose problems in conservation tillage systems with high amounts of cover crop residues and how crop management practices can help reduce pest damage. Also, learn about ongoing research into naturally-occurring predators of early season insects and slugs and how best to conserve them.

Optimizing Weed Suppression and Nutrient Use Efficiency in Cover Crop-Based No-Till Organic Corn


In this webinar, Hanna Poffenbarger of the University of Maryland and Steven Mirsky of the USDA-ARS Sustainable Agriculture Systems Lab discuss optimizing cover crop mixture composition and manure application to achieve weed suppression and adequate, efficient nitrogen delivery in a cover crop-based no-till corn system.

Beyond Black Plastic


While the use of black plastic is allowed within organic agriculture, it is inherently unsustainable as it is a petroleum-based product and difficult to recycle.

This 24-page guide looks beyond plasticulture and evaluates the effects of different mulch systems on soil quality and fertility, weed control, yields and waste production, and profitability for small to mid-size vegetable farms.

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Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:

Dig deeper into cover crops research: SARE has funded hundreds of research and education projects related to cover crops since 1988. This topic room features only a glimpse into SARE's entire portfolio of cover crop research. To discover more, visit SARE's database of projects and conduct full text or advanced keyword searches.


Cover Crop Innovators Series

Watch 10 short videos of innovative Midwestern farmers describing how they have successfully added cover crops to their cash crop rotations. Learn more.


Farmers Say Cover Crops Work

SARE-CTIC CC Survey Report Cover

From increasing yield to improving soil health, find out why farmers use cover crops. For three years, SARE and partner organizations have conducted a national survey of farmers on their experiences with cover crops.

2012-2013 Survey: Summary and report (PDF).

2013-2014 Survey: Summary and report (PDF).

2014-2015 Survey: Summary and report (PDF).

Are you an ag educator or farmer interested in sharing the Cover Crop Topic Room at an event? Consider using this one-page flyer (PDF) or the four-page topic brief, Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations.