Cover crops and weed suppression in the US Midwest: A meta-analysis and modeling study.


In addition to soil health and conservation benefits, cover crops (CCs) may offer weed control in the Midwestern United States (Midwest), but individual studies report varying effects. We conducted a meta-analysis of studies measuring weed biomass (WBIO) or density (WDEN) in paired CC and no-cover treatments in corn (Zea mays L.)-soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr) rotations in the Midwest. Fifteen studies provided 123 paired comparisons of WBIO and 119 of WDEN. Only grass CCs significantly reduced WBIO, while no CC reduced WDEN. We found no evidence CC management factors (e.g. termination method) directly impacted outcomes. Our dataset showed a 75% reduction in WBIO requires at least 5 Mg ha-1 of CC. Simulations from a process-based model (SALUS) indicated achieving 5 Mg ha-1 requires substantially earlier fall planting and later spring termination in most years, conflicting with typical cash-crop planting and harvesting. We conclude CCs significantly reduce WBIO, but current CC management constraints render these reductions variable and uncertain.

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Preprints for Agriculture and Allied Sciences
Advisory Board
  • Leisa Armstrong, Edith Cowan University, Australia
  • Arianna Becerril García, Autonomous University of the State of Mexico, Redalyc/AmeliCA, Mexico
  • Susmita Das, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council
  • Abeer Elhalwagi, National Gene Bank, Egypt
  • Gopinath KA, Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture
  • Niklaus Grünwald, USDA Agricultural Research Service
  • Sridhar Gutam, ICAR IIHR/Open Access India
  • Vinodh Ilangovan, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
  • Jayalakshmi M, ANGRAU, India
  • Khelif Karima, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique d'Algérie
  • Dinesh Kumar, Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute
  • Satendra Kumar Singh, Indian Council of Agricultural Research
  • Devika P. Madalli, DRTC/Indian Statistical Institute, India
  • Prateek Mahalwar, Cellulosic Technologies UG, Germany
  • Bernard Pochet, University of Liège - Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech
  • Vassilis Protonotarios, NEUROPUBLIC
  • Andy Robinson, CABI
  • Paraj Shukla, King Saud University
  • Chandni Singh, Indian Institute for Human Settlements
  • Kuldeep Singh Jadon, ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, India
  • Rajeev K Varshney, CGIAR/ICRISAT, India
  • Sumant Vyas, ICAR- National Research Centre on Camel, India
  • Oya Yildirim Rieger, Ithaka S+R/ITHAKA, USA
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