Cover Crops: Pest Management
Smother winter weeds and break pest cycles by planting the right cover crop species.
This 16-page bulletin will help you use cover crops to encourage populations of pollinators and beneficial insects on your farm while you address your other resource concerns.
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.
Results of a two-year research project to determine the impact of several cover crops on pest and predator insects in conservation tillage cotton.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Also, visit SARE's database for reports on these research projects:
- Trials and Informing Regional Farmers About Organic Weed Control Methods (2011, New Mexico)
- Integrating Ground Cover Crops and New Herbicide Strategies (Conventional and Organic) for Tree Growth and Soil Health, Part 1 and Part 2 (2011, New York)
- Suppression of Soybean Diseases Through the Use of Cover Crops (2010, Illinois)
- Rolled Down Cover Crop Mulch for Pumpkin and Soybean Production (2009, Pennsylvania)
- Selecting a Sunn Hemp Cover Crop Genotype for Weed Suppression and Seed Production (2008, Florida)
- Selecting Cover Crops for Diverse Functions: An Integrated Soil Management Approach for Organic Strawberry Production in North Carolina (2007, North Carolina)
- Using Cover Crops and Crop Diversity to Optimize Ecologically Based Weed Management (2005, Pennsylvania)
- Mustard Green Manures for Potato Production (2003, Washington)
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.