Do cover crops affect CO2 emissions from the soil and if so, under what conditions? These were among the questions addressed by university researchers monitoring CO2 emissions from cereal rye cover crops in irrigated and dryland no-till continuous corn treatments.
University research looking at CO2 emissions from two types of residue removal (baling and grazing) compared with a control treatment found little day-to-day impact; however, when looking at cumulative data for the whole year, grazing did appear to affect cumulative CO2 emissions in irrigated crop-livestock systems. This data represents the first year of this study.
A short review of cover crop research conducted at four University of Nebraska research fields (two irrigated, two dryland) to study the feasibility and impact of winter cover cropping on soil quality, soil water, and crop yields in corn-soybean systems. Objectives were to quantify cover crop emergence, fall and spring biomass production, soil water changes, soil chemical and physical property changes, and crop yields.
Rye was the leading biomass producer in the first two years of a four-year study exploring whether winter cover cropping in no-till corn and soybean systems in Nebraska can benefit soil quality despite their short growing season.