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Volume 103, Issue 2 p. 472-478
Soils, Agronomy & Environmental Quality

Is Broadcasting Seed an Effective Winter Cover Crop Planting Method?

K. A. Fisher

K. A. Fisher

University of Maryland, Dep. of Environmental Science and Technology, Room 1109 H.J. Patterson Hall, College Park, MD, 20742

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B. Momen

B. Momen

University of Maryland, Dep. of Environmental Science and Technology, Room 1109 H.J. Patterson Hall, College Park, MD, 20742

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R. J. Kratochvil

Corresponding Author

R. J. Kratochvil

University of Maryland, Dep. of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Room 1112 H.J. Patterson Hall, College Park, MD, 20742

Corresponding author ([email protected]).

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First published: 01 March 2011
Citations: 36

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Abstract

Agricultural nutrient runoff to the Chesapeake Bay has been under intense scrutiny for more than a decade in Maryland. One method for capturing these nutrients, especially N, is the use of winter cover crops. This study compared various broadcast cover crop treatments with and without soil incorporation to planting winter cover crop seed with a no-till drill. Seedling emergence and N uptake were the dependent variables measured for two planting dates and seven planting methods. The effects of planting date and planting method for winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) following corn (Zea mays L.) harvest were investigated at two locations. The study was conducted over two winter cover crop growing seasons: 2007–2008 and 2008–2009. Treatments that incorporated the seed into the soil consistently established better stands of cover crops and took up more N regardless of fluctuations in temperature, rainfall, and planting date. Early planted cover crops consistently took up more N than those planted on the later planting date. Performance of the broadcast treatments was highly dependent on rainfall and mild temperatures for success, but did take up notable amounts of N when planted early under good growing conditions. The few differences that were found in the N uptake between wheat and rye within the same planting treatment always indicated that the rye achieved better N uptake than wheat.