Dr. Doug Shoup discusses Cover Crops

(Dr. Doug Shoup) I’m Doug Shoup. I’m the Southeast Area Agronomist for Kansas State University. I had the opportunity to share some information on cover crops that we’ve done in the state of Kansas, but specifically to soybeans as well. Cover crops have become a new thing that producers are starting to incorporate into their crop rotations and they serve a lot of benefits from erosion control, so we can get some cover outgrown there and stop some soil erosion. We can use cover crops in a livestock system as well for grazing. Also, producers have been fighting weeds and herbicide-resistant weeds, and so cover crops have been a good tool to use for producers to help manage herbicide-resistant weeds as well. Really, it’s an issue of where you’re at in the state of Kansas. Sometimes cover crops can even be a detriment if you’re in a water-limiting environment. Cover crops, like any plant, have a tendency to use water to produce its biomass. If you’re in some fallow situations out west, we’ve seen some negative yield results on wheat when the cover crop was previously grown ahead of that wheat. It used that soil moisture that wheat crop could have used later in the season. Now, as you move from west to east into areas that receive more rainfall, moisture is less of an issue. Producers have started to incorporate some cover crops into their system for herbicide-resistant weed control and it does a pretty good job. Essentially, what it boils down to is, I don’t care what cover crop you pick, but what our data has shown is that the more biomass you produce, the more residue that you put out on that ground, the more suppression you’re going to get of these weeds as they try to emerge.

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