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Integrating weed-suppressive cultivar and cover crops for weed management in organic sweetpotato production

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 May 2023

Isabel S. Werle
Graduate Research Assistant, University of Arkansas, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Fayetteville, AR, USA
Matheus M. Noguera
Graduate Research Assistant, University of Arkansas, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Fayetteville, AR, USA
Srikanth K. Karaikal
Graduate Research Assistant, University of Arkansas, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Fayetteville, AR, USA
Pamela Carvalho-Moore
Graduate Research Assistant, University of Arkansas, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Fayetteville, AR, USA
Koffi Badou-Jeremie Kouame
Graduate Research Assistant, University of Arkansas, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Fayetteville, AR, USA
Gustavo Henrique Bessa de Lima
Graduate Research Assistant, University of Arkansas, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Fayetteville, AR, USA
Trenton L. Roberts
Professor, University of Arkansas, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Fayetteville, AR, USA
Nilda Roma-Burgos*
Professor, University of Arkansas, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Fayetteville, AR, USA
Corresponding author: Nilda Roma-Burgos; Email:


Field studies were conducted in 2021 in Kibler and Augusta, AR, to determine the effect of winter cover crops and cultivar selection on weed suppression and sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] yield. The split-split-plot studies evaluated three cover crops [cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) + crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.)], [winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) + crimson clover], and fallow; weeding (with or without); and four sweetpotato cultivars (‘Heartogold’, ‘Bayou-Belle-6’, ‘Beauregard-14’, and ‘Orleans’). Heartogold had the tallest canopy, while Beauregard-14 and Bayou Belle-6 had the longest vines at 5 and 8 wk after sweetpotato transplanting. Sweetpotato canopy was about 20% taller in weedy plots compared with the hand-weeded treatment, and vines were shorter under weed interference. Canopy height and vine length of sweetpotato cultivars were not related to weed biomass suppression. However, vine length was positively correlated to all yield grades (r > 0.5). Weed biomass decreased 1-fold in plots with cover crops compared with bare soil at Augusta. Cover crop biomass was positively correlated with jumbo (r = 0.29), no. 1 (r = 0.33), and total sweetpotato yield (r = 0.34). Jumbo yield was affected the most by weed pressure. On average, sweetpotato total yield was reduced by 80% and 60% with weed interference in Augusta and Kibler, respectively. Bayou Belle-6 was the high-yielding cultivar without weed interference in both locations. Bayou Belle-6 and Heartogold were less affected by weed interference than Beauregard-14 and Orleans.

Research Article
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Weed Science Society of America

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Associate Editor: Nicholas Basinger, University of Georgia


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