Drill, broadcast methods compared for establishing cover crops on beds
In the fertile growing regions of the central coast of California, scientists are looking for ways to increase organic production of strawberry and other crops. Because cover crops can provide weed and erosion control, determining the best method for establishing a uniform and dense cover crop stand as soon as possible after planting is a critical first step.
The authors of a new study say that determining optimal planting strategies that accelerate cover crop emergence and reduce light penetration to weeds should be a primary focus. Eric Brennan and Jim Leap from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), coauthored the study published in the April 2014 issue of HortScience.
Brennan and Leap evaluated the effectiveness of three secondary tillage implements for soil incorporation of broadcast cover crop seed compared with drilled seed using legume-rye cover crop mixtures. "Our study was motivated by the need for effective strategies that will enable small-scale growers who do not have access to drills to grow uniform and weed-suppressive cover crops on beds," the authors said.
Both drilling and broadcasting methods are commonly used to plant cover crops. In vegetable and strawberry systems in the central coast region of California, grain drills are commonly used by medium- to large-scale farms, whereas smaller-scale organic farms with fewer resources often broadcast cover crop seed onto the soil surface and incorporate it into the soil in a separate pass with a secondary tillage implement.
Brennan and Leap explained that few studies have compared the two methods for their efficacy with planting cover crops. "The effects of these contrasting sowing techniques on crop performance vary depending on a variety of factors, making it difficult to conclude that one method is universally preferable," they said.
The researchers compared four planting treatments (drill, broadcast plus rototiller, broadcast plus cultivator, and broadcast plus disc) and point implements (seeder, seeder plus rototiller, seeder plus cultivator, and seeder plus disc) for planting rye mixed with either purple or common vetch on beds.
"The implements evaluated in the study represent those typically used in organic and conventional vegetable row cropping systems in California and were configured for a 2.03-m wide bed system, which is a standard bed configuration here," the authors said. The experiments were conducted in Salinas, California, with winter- and spring-sown cover crops for establishing rye mixed with either purple or common vetch on bed tops at a seeding rate of 140 kg·ha-1.
Results showed that drilling required less time than broadcasting because the broadcasting methods all used a second pass to incorporate the seed. According to the authors, drilled cover crops had greater uniformity and faster emergence, characteristics that would likely increase their ability to suppress weeds that emerge with the cover crop.
"The main problems with the broadcasting methods were delayed emergence and lower cover crop stands that were likely the result of greater variability in seeding depth," the authors said. The data showed that the best methods for incorporating broadcast seed into the bed were a rototiller or a cultivator with tines and a rolling basket, preferably at 50% to 100% higher seeding rates than drilling.
The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/49/4/441.abstract
Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application. More information at ashs.org
Michael W. Neff | Eurek Alert!
Climate change, population growth may lead to open ocean aquaculture
05.10.2017 | Oregon State University
New machine evaluates soybean at harvest for quality
04.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy