Does a cover crop affect corn or soybean yields?
Practical Farmers of Iowa and Iowa Learning Farms have jointly released a research report 5 years in the making! See the full report here.
Twelve cooperator farmers across the state helped conduct 40 trials between 2009 and 2013 to determine if a winter cereal rye cover crop had any effect on the yields of corn or soybeans. Each farmer established strips the length of their field that either contained a cover crop or laid bare over the winter between years that they grew either corn or soybeans.
Among the key findings:
- In 19 out of 22 trials, the rye cover crop had little or no negative effect on corn yields.
- In 4 out of 18 trials, the rye cover crop increased soybean yields, while 13 trials showed little or no negative effect on soybean yields.
- A properly managed winter cereal rye cover crop can usually be added to a corn-soybean system without significantly affecting yields.
This study will continue in the years to come with 8 cooperators participating in 2014. For more information on this study, contact Stefan Gailans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project was made possible by funds provided by the State Soil Conservation Committee and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The full report can be found here.