Planting Soybeans Into a Cereal Rye Cover Crop

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Want to know more about the benefits cereal rye can have on your soybean crop? Learn the advantages of the rye-soybean rotation from NC State’s Soybean Extension Specialist, Dr. Rachel Vann in our latest video!

A cereal rye cover crop can bring a lot of short term benefits to the following soybean crop including weed suppression, moisture conservation and improving rain infiltration.

Dried out soil from sunlight compared to soil protected by cover crop.

Comparison of cover crop preventing sunlight from directly hitting the soil (foreground) and driving soil moisture out (background).

There’s a couple advantages that soybeans have planted into cereal rye compared to a crop like corn. One is that soybeans fix their own nitrogen so any nitrogen tied up as the cereal rye starts to decompose is less problematic for soybean.

Graph of the lack of effect of plant populations on soybean yield.

Soybean yields can overcome low plant populations.

Also, soybeans are plastic across a range of populations so they can tolerate the stand reduction that we may see as a result of planting into heavy cover without reducing yield.

Using cereal rye in front of soybeans has some distinct advantages that can benefit crop production in North Carolina. For additional information see these resources:

NC State University – Winter Annual Cover Crops

NC Soybean Producers Association – Rolled Cover Crop Mulches