Cover Crops

Small Grain Annual Forages Following Soybean Production December 2, 2016

This research brief looks at a three-year grazing trial addressing the question of what small grain is most suitable to plant after soybean to offer the best opportunity for grazing.

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In these research trials in western Nebraska winter triticale was found to offer several advantages over winter barley as a cover crop.
Figure 1. In these research trials in western Nebraska winter triticale was found to offer several advantages over winter barley as a cover crop.

Triticale: A Useful Component of a Cover Crop December 1, 2016

This overview of UNL research compares winter triticale with winter barley and explores why crop producers may want to include triticale in their cover crop blends.

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Figure 1. Steers grazing a mix of oats, turnips and radishes in mid-December. At this point in Experiment 4 there was still 1.5 ton dry matter per acre and calves grazed until mid-January when the weather ended grazing due to the forage being iced to the ground.
Figure 1. Steers grazing a mix of oats, turnips and radishes in mid-December. At this point in Experiment 4 there was still 1.5 ton dry matter per acre and calves grazed until mid-January when the weather ended grazing due to the forage being iced to the ground.

Value of Oats and Brassicas for Fall Forage December 1, 2016

An overview of five experiments evaluating the use of winter-sensitive, cool-season species planted in mid-August after wheat or early September after corn silage harvest for grazing of fall-weaned calves during November and December.

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Cover Crop Mixture Diversity and Function November 30, 2016

Do cover crop mixtures perform better than monoculture plantings? This overview looks at a research study using various plantings of 18 cover crop species, both in monoculture and combination plantings, to examine biomass production as well as the effect of the different plantings on weed suppression, soil nutrient retention, or soil microbial biomass.

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Residues from cover crop mixtures terminated via sweep plow undercutter (left) or disk (right) in May 2010 study near Mead.

Cover Crop Mixtures: Effects of Diversity and Termination Method on Weeds, Soil, and Crop Yield November 30, 2016

Overview of two experiments conducted in eastern Nebraska to quantify the productivity and agronomic effects of diverse cover crop mixtures and to determine how several termination methods might alter those effects.

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Graph showing cover crop effect on corn yield based on planting date
Graph showing cover crop effect on corn yield based on planting date

Interseeding Cover Crops into Corn November 29, 2016

This cover crop study looked at the effect on corn yield and cover crop biomass production from interseeding cover crops at various points in the corn production cycle.

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Chart showing corn yield as affected by planting date and hybrid maturity
Chart showing corn yield as affected by planting date and hybrid maturity

Finding the Balance Between Corn Yield and Cover Crop Biomass November 29, 2016

Cover crops can provide either ecosystem services or forage benefits but understanding how they fit in cropping systems is still limited. This study assessed the effects of planting date (early and late), plant population (low, average, and high) and corn maturity (80 to 115 days relative maturity) on corn yield.

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Field trials comparing early and late planted rye cover crop
Field trials comparing early and late planted rye cover crop

Implementation of Cover Crops in Corn and Soybean Systems in Nebraska November 29, 2016

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.

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