Cover crops, weeds and herbicides
The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and other factors have increased interest in fitting cover crops into Iowa’s cropping systems. The benefits of cover crops are well documented, and include reducing erosion, nutrient losses, and soil compaction. Legume cover crops such as hairy vetch may contribute nitrogen via biological fixation. The extended period of plant growth during times when soil is often left bare also is beneficial for overall soil health. Finally, cover crops can complement weed management programs by suppressing the establishment of weeds. This paper will focus on the interactions between cover crops, weeds and current weed management programs.