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Clover green manure productivity and weed suppression in an organic grain rotation

  • Katja Koehler-Cole (a1), James R. Brandle (a2), Charles A. Francis (a1), Charles A. Shapiro (a1), Erin E. Blankenship (a3) and P. Stephen Baenziger (a1)...

Abstract

Green manure crops must produce high biomass to supply biological N, increase organic matter and control weeds. The objectives of our study were to assess above-ground biomass productivity and weed suppression of clover (Trifolium spp.) green manures in an organic soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]-winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)-corn (Zea mays L.) rotation in eastern Nebraska in three cycles (2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14). Treatments were green manure species [red clover (T. pratense L.) and white clover (T. repens L.)] undersown into winter wheat in March and green manure mowing regime (one late summer mowing or no mowing). We measured wheat productivity and grain protein at wheat harvest, and clover and weed above-ground biomass as dry matter (DM) at wheat harvest, 35 days after wheat harvest, in October and in April before clover termination. Winter wheat grain yields and grain protein were not affected by undersown clovers. DM was higher for red than for white clover at most sampling times. Red clover produced between 0.4 and 5.5 Mg ha−1 in the fall and 0.4–5.2 Mg ha−1 in the spring. White clover produced between 0.1 and 2.5 Mg ha−1 in the fall and 0.2–3.1 Mg ha−1 in the spring. Weed DM was lower under red clover than under white clover at most sampling times. In the spring, weed DM ranged from 0.0 to 0.6 Mg ha−1 under red clover and from 0.0 to 3.1 Mg ha−1 under white clover. Mowing did not consistently affect clover or weed DM. For organic growers in eastern Nebraska, red clover undersown into winter wheat can be a productive green manure with good weed suppression potential.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: katja@huskers.unl.edu.

References

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Keywords

Clover green manure productivity and weed suppression in an organic grain rotation

  • Katja Koehler-Cole (a1), James R. Brandle (a2), Charles A. Francis (a1), Charles A. Shapiro (a1), Erin E. Blankenship (a3) and P. Stephen Baenziger (a1)...

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