Optimizing Short-Term Cover Crop Benefits in North Carolina Soybeans

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Each day this week we are releasing information delivered at the Soybean Field Day at the NCDA&CS Piedmont Research Station in September for those who could not attend.

Read more at Can We Protect Soybean Seed Quality Through Pest Management? crops can provide a variety of short- and long-term benefits to soybean cropping systems. Despite a growing interest in cover crops in our state, grower adoption remains low (<10%) but we are hoping to increase the use of cover crops. The impact of cover crops on pest dynamics can be positive or negative for soybean production in this state. This study seeks to investigate pest dynamics (nematodes, insects, diseases) under various cover crop management strategies and species.

Research in 2021 and 2022 across North Carolina

  • Cover crop trials were installed in Edgecombe, Moore, Rowan and Washington Counties in 2021 and 2022
  • Research has focused on cereal rye management strategies and species selection to suppress nematodes
  • Data collected has included cover crop biomass, nematode samples, soil moisture, soil temperature, soybean stand, insect dynamics, disease dynamics, soybean yield, and soybean quality
  • Minimal differences observed in insect pressure, but cover crops could play a role in suppressing foliar diseases
  • In sites with heavy soybean cyst nematode pressure, some brassica cover crop species reduced nematode pressure and increased soybean yield

On-farm research results conducted with cover crops prior to soybeans in North Carolina

Work Conducted by Hannah Massengill, Dr. Rachel Vann and Dr. Dominic Reisig.