Effect on corn of green manure cover crops established with cereal rye seed crop

Published Mar 30, 2017

In a Nutshell

Green manure cover crops best fit into extended and diversified crop rotations between the small grain and corn phases of the rotation. Farmer-cooperator Wade Dooley compared corn following two green manure strategies: a red clover + sweet mix interseeded with a cereal rye seed crop vs. a mix of oats + sorghum-sudangrass + peas + rapeseed mix established after cereal rye seed harvest.

Key Findings

The two green manure mixes produced similar amounts of biomass and N. Corn yields were greater by nearly 30 bu/ac following the clover mix (corn in both treatments received 100 lb N/ac as purchased N fertilizer). Financial returns on investment per acre were greater by $123.90 with the clover mix treatment.