Herbicide Carryover to Cover Crops and Evaluation of Cover Crops for Annual Weed Control in Corn and Soybeans

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Virginia Tech


While cover crops are actively growing, they compete with winter annual weeds. Studies were conducted to determine the ability of early planted cover crop monocultures and mixtures and a fall applied residual herbicide to compete with winter annual weeds. Cereal rye containing cover crops provided the greatest control of winter weeds in May. Flumioxazin, as a fall applied herbicide, controlled winter weeds in December, but control did not persist until May. Once cover crops are terminated, their residue suppresses summer annual weeds. A greenhouse experiment studying the effects of cereal rye biomass on common ragweed and Palmer amaranth control and light penetration and two field experiments to determine the effects of cereal rye and wheat cover crop biomass terminated with a roller crimper or left standing on summer weed control and light penetration were conducted. For summer weed control, as cover crop biomass increased, weed control increased, light penetration decreased, soil temperature decreased, and soil moisture increased. Standing cover crop residue provided greater control of common ragweed compared to rolled residue until 8400 kg ha⁻¹ of cover crop biomass. As cover crop biomass increased, rolled cover crop residue reduced light penetration compared to standing residue. Wheat cover crop residue increased soil moisture more compared to cereal rye residue. Cover crops must become established to produce adequate biomass to compete with weeds. Herbicide carryover has the potential to reduce cover crop establishment. A study was conducted to evaluate the potential for 30 different residual herbicides applied in the cash crop growing season to carryover to 10 different cover crops. While visible injury was observed, cover crop biomass was similar to the nontreated check in all cases, indicating that herbicide carryover to cover crops is of little concern. Herbicide carryover has few biological effects on establishment of cover crops, under the conditions and herbicides evaluated, that are effective at competing with winter annual weeds and suppressing summer annual weeds.



herbicide carryover, weed control, cover crops