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Cover crops can provide benefits like weed suppression and erosion contol.
June 18, 2013
Cover crops can provide Mid-South producers with weed suppression, improvements in soil health and erosion control. But University of Arkansas weed scientist Jason Norsworthy urges producers to do their homework before planting one. It’s critical to match your cover crop to region, soil type and crop mix among other factors.
Norsworthy has been researching cover crops since the early 2000s, and more recently has focused on his efforts on the effects of a cover crop on suppression of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth.
His studies have shown that choice of a cover crop is the first and most important decision a farmer makes.
For example, legume cover crops can provide a nitrogen benefit, but can deteriorate quickly, allowing sunlight to reach soil, and actually triggering emergence and growth of weeds. “Where I had hairy vetch and Austrian winter peas as cover crops in research plots, I had more pigweed in than I did where I didn’t have a cover crop.”
Editor, Delta Farm Press
Elton joined Delta Farm Press in March 1993, and was named editor of the publication in July 1997. He writes about agriculture-related issues for cotton, corn, soybean, rice and wheat producers in west Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and southeast Missouri. Elton worked as editor of a weekly community newspaper and wrote for a monthly cotton magazine prior to Delta Farm Press. Elton and his wife, Stephony, live in Atoka, Tenn., 30 miles north of Memphis. They have three grown sons, Ryan Robinson, Nick Gatlin and Will Gatlin.
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