Optimizing organic cover crop-based rotational tillage systems for early soybean growth

Abstract

Cover crop-based rotational tillage (CCBRT) practices continue to be adopted on organic farms across the globe. In these systems, fall-planted cover crops are mechanically terminated in the spring and used to suppress weeds and eliminate the need for tillage and cultivation in the soybean (Glycine max L.) phase of the rotation. However, challenges remain as to maximization of soybean yields due to later planting dates of soybean and delayed early soybean growth. In this study, soybeans were planted into cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) using two strategies (planting at Zadoks’ stage 45 and 69), with termination with the roller-crimper occurring at Zadoks’ stage 69 for each rye variety which differed in their time to maturity. The impacts of cover crop variety and planting strategies were compared through measurements of (1) cover crop biomass; (2) the regrowth of cover crops; (3) soybean plant populations; (4) weed densities and biomass; and (5) soybean nodulation. Biomass production of each cover crop differed significantly by year, ranging from 7907 kg DM ha−1 to 11,466 kg DM ha−1. Significant differences in weed densities and weed biomass were found between rye varieties and control treatments across the different planting strategies. Soybean nodulation was suppressed by CCBRT management, potentially impacting early soybean growth. Soybean yields were equivalent from both the earlier vs. late maturing varieties of rye. Soybean yields varied across planting strategies of soybeans when cereal rye reached Zadoks’ stage 45 versus stage 69, with greater or equivalent yields of the early planting strategy beans in 2016 and lower or equivalent yields in 2017. Further work must be conducted to understand the benefits and risks of earlier planting of soybeans in the CCBRT system and to develop best management practices to promote early soybean growth.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Abberton MT, Michaelson-Yeates TPT, MacDuff JH (1998) Characterization of novel inbred lines of white clover (Trifolium repens L.). I. Dynamics of plant growth and nodule development in flowing solution culture. Euph 103:35–43

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Angers DA, Eriksen-Hamel NS (2008) Full-inversion tillage and organic carbon distribution in soil profiles: a meta-analysis. Soil Sci Soc Am J 72:1370–1374

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Ashford DL, Reeves DW (2003) Use of a mechanical roller-crimper as an alternative kill method for cover crops. Am J Alt Agric 18:37–45

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bastidas AM, Setryono TD, Dobermann A, Cassman KG, Elmore RW, Graef GL, Specht JE (2008) Soybean sowing date: the vegetative, reproductive, and agronomic impacts. Crop Sci 48:727–740

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bauer TL (1989) Use of the allelopathic and mulch properties of rye as a method of weed control in soybean. M.S. thesis. Univ. WI-Madison

  6. Bernstein ER, Posner JL, Stoltenberg DE, Hedtcke JL (2011) Organically managed no-tillage rye-soybean systems: agronomic, economic, and environmental assessment. Agron J 103:1169–1179

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Collino DJ, Salvagiotti F, Perticari A, Piccinetti C, Ovando G, Urquiaga S, Racca RW (2015) Biological nitrogen fixation in soybeanin Argentina: relationships with crop, soil, and meteorologicalfactors. Plant Soil 392(1–2):239–252. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-015-2459-8

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Collins D, Benedict C, Corbin A, Cogger C, Bary A, Wyman S, Myrhe L (2012) Reduced tillage in organic agriculture and winter cover crops field day. https://eorganic.info/sites/eorganic.info/files/u655/FieldDay21May12Handout.pdf Accessed 20 August 2018

  9. Cooper J, Baranski M, Stewart G, Nobel-de Lange M, Bàrberi FA, Peigné J, Berner A, Brock C, Casagrande M, Crowley O, David C, De Vliegher A, Döring TF, Dupont A, Entz M, Grosse M, Haase T, Halde C, Hammerl V, Huiting H, Leithold G, Messmer M, Schloter M, Sukkel W, van der Hejden MGA, Willekens K, Wittmer R, Mäder P (2016) Shallow non-inversion tillage in organic farmer maintains crop yields and increases soil C stocks: a meta-analysis. Agron Sustain Dev 36:22–42

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. De Bruin JL, Pedersen P (2008) Soybean seed yield response to planting date and seeding rate in the upper Midwest. Agron J 100:696–703

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. De Bruin JL, Porter PM, Jordan NR (2005) Use of a rye cover crop following corn in rotation with soybean in the upper Midwest. Agron J 97:587–598

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Delate K, Cwach D, Chase C (2011) Organic no-tillage system effects on organic soybean, corn and irrigated tomato production and economic performance in Iowa, USA. Renewable Agric Food Syst 27:49–59

  13. Delate K, Cwach D, Chase C (2012) Organic no-tillage system effects on soybean, corn and irrigated tomato production and economic performance in Iowa, USA. Renew Agric Food Syst 27:49–59

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Doll J, Mueller D (2005) Rye: the all-purpose integrated weed management crop (p 304–309). In: Proc. Wisconsin Fert. Aglime and Pest Management Conf., Madison, WI. Coop. Ext. Univ. Wisconsin, Ext. and College Agric. Life Sci., Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, 18–20 Jan 2005

  15. Edwards JH, Wood CW, Thurlow DL, Ruf ME (1992) Tillage and crop rotation effects on fertility status of a Hapludult soil. Soil Sci Soc Amer J 56:1577–1582

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Elmore RW (1984) G84-737 Soybean inoculation–When is it necessary? Paper 743. Historical materials from Univ. of Nebraska Lincoln Ext. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/extensionhist/743. Accessed 16 Feb 2017

  17. JMP (2018) JMP, Version 14.0.0. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, pp 1989–2018

    Google Scholar 

  18. Keene CL, Curran WS, Wallace JM, Ryan MR, Mirsky SB, VanGessel MJ, Barbercheck ME (2017) Cover crop termination timing is critical in organic rotational no-till systems. Agron J 109:272–282

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Langdale GW, West LT, Bruce RR, Miller WP, Thomas AW (1992a) Restoration of eroded soil with conservation tillage. Soil Tech 5:81–90

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Langdale GW, Mills WC, Thomas AW (1992b) Use of conservation tillage to retard erosive effects of large storms. J Soil Water Cons 47:257–260

    Google Scholar 

  21. Liebert JA, Ryan MA (2017) High planting rates improve weed suppression, yield, and profitability in organically-managed, no-till—planted soybean. Weed Technol 31:536–550

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Mirsky SB, Curran WS, Mortensen DM, Ryan MR, Shumway DL (2011) Timing of cover-crop management effects on weed suppression in no-till planted soybean using a roller-crimper. Weed Sci 59:380–389

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Mischler R, Curran W, Duiker S, Hyde J (2010) Use of a rolled-rye cover crop for weed suppression in no-till soybeans. Weed Technol 24:253–261

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Moldenhauer WC, Langdale GW, Frye W, McCool DK, Papendick RI, Smika DE, Fryrear DW (1983) Conservation tillage for erosion control. J Soil Water Cons 38:144–151

    Google Scholar 

  25. Mourtzinis S, Edreira J, RattalinoI GP (2018) Sifting and winnowing: analysis of farmer field data for soybean in the US North-Central region. Field Crops Res 221:130–141

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Neu K, Nair A (2017) Effect of planting date and cultivar on cereal rye development and termination for organic no-till production systems. Farm Progress Reports. https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/farmprogressreports/vol2016/iss1/26 Accessed 20 August 2018

  27. Pan B, Smith DL (1998) Genistein and daidzein concentrations and contents in seedling roots of three soybean cultivars grown under three root zone temperatures. J Agron Crop Sci 180:77–82

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Rueber D, Holmes JD (2011) Timing of land rolling for soybeans. Iowa State Research Farm Progress Reports. http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/farms_reports/250 Accessed 20 August 2018

  29. Ryan MR (2010) Energy usage, greenhouse gases, and multi-tactical weed management in organic rotational no-till cropping systems. The Pennsylvania State University, State College

    Google Scholar 

  30. Schipanski ME, Drinkwater LE, Russelle MP (2010) Understanding the variability in soybean nitrogen fixation across agroecosystems. Plant Soil 329:379–397

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Silva EM (2014) Screening five fall-sown cover crops for use in organic no-till crop production in the Upper Midwest. Agroecol Sustain Food Syst 38:48–763

    Google Scholar 

  32. Silva E, Delate KA (2017) Decade of progress in organic cover crop-based reduced tillage practices in the Upper Midwestern USA. Agric 7:44

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Smith AN, Reberg-Horton S, Place GT, Meijer AD, Arellano C, Mueller JP (2011) Rolled rye mulch for weed suppression in organic notillage soybeans. Weed Sci 59:224–231. https://doi.org/10.1614/WS-D-10-00112.1

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Steel RGD, Torrie JH (1980) Principles and procedures of statistics. A biometrical approach, 2nd edn. McGraw-Hill, New York, pp 20–90

    Google Scholar 

  35. Teasdale JR, Mohler CL (1993) Light transmittance, soil temperature, and soil moisture under residue of hairy vetch and rye. Agron J 85:673–680

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Uri ND (1999) Conservation tillage in U.S. Agriculture, New York

    Google Scholar 

  37. USDA (2017) 2016 Certified organic survey. Issued September 2017, updated October 4, 2017

  38. Vincent-Caboud L, Peigné J, Casagrande M, Silva EM (2017) Overview of organic cover crop-based no-tillage technique in Europe: farmers’ practices and research challenges. Agriculture 7:42

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Weber JF, Kunz C, Peteinatos GG, Zikeli S, Gerhards R (2017) Weed control using conventional tillage, reduced tillage, no-tillage, and cover crops in organic soybean. Agriculture 7:43–56

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Wells MS, Reberg-Horton SC, Smith AN, Grossman JM (2013) The reduction of plant-available nitrogen by cover crop mulches and subsequent effects on soybean performance and weed interference. Agron J 105:539–545

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Wells MS, Brinton CM, Reberg-Horton SC (2015) Weed suppression and soybean yields in a no-till cover-crop mulched system as influenced by six rye cultivars. Renew Agric Food Syst 31:429–440

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Williams IIMM, Mortensen DA, Doran JW (1998) Assessment of weed and crop fitness in cover crop residues for integrated weed management. Weed Sci 46:595–603

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Willmer H, Lernoud J (2018) The world of organic agriculture: statistics and emerging trends 2018. IFOAM. https://shop.fibl.org/CHen/mwdownloads/download/link/id/1093/?ref=1 Accessed 22 August 2018

  44. Wisconsin State Climatology Office (2018) Arlington university farm, Arlington, WI weather records. WSCO, Madison

    Google Scholar 

  45. Zadoks JC, Chang TT, Konzak CF (1974) A decimal code for the growth stages of cereals. Weed Res 14:415–421

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Zhang F, Smith DL (1994) Effects of low root zone temperatures on the early stages of symbiosis establishment between soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] and Bradyrhizobium japonicum. J Exp Bot 45:1467–1473

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Zhang F, Lynch DH, Smith DL (1995) Impact of low root temperatures in soybean [Glycine max. (L.) Merr.] on nodulation and nitrogen fixation. Environ Exp Bot 35:279–285

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Erin Marie Silva.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Silva, E.M., Vereecke, L. Optimizing organic cover crop-based rotational tillage systems for early soybean growth. Org. Agr. 9, 471–481 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13165-019-00243-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Cover crop-based rotational tillage
  • Roller-crimper
  • Organic no-till
  • Soybean
  • Organic agriculture