Enhancing Corn Yield in a Winter Cereal Rye Cover Cropping System

Date
2016-01-01
Authors
Patel, Swetabh
Lundvall, John
Sawyer, John
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Agronomy
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Abstract

Water quality impairment related to nitrogen (N) is a concern in Iowa, including meeting nitrate (NO3) drinking water standards and reducing the amount of N lost to the Gulf of Mexico. The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy science assessment identified a rye cover crop as an important in-field management practice for reducing N and phosphorus (P) loss from fields (31% NO3-N and 29% P), and for reducing soil erosion. However, the science assessment identified a corn yield reduction of 6 percent when grown following a rye cover crop. Lower corn yield with use of a cover crop is unacceptable to farmers, so it is important to identify practices that minimize impact on corn establishment, early-season growth, and yield. The objective of this project was to study production practices that might enhance corn yield when grown in a winter cereal rye cover cropping system.

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