See more from this Session: Cover Crops In Agricultural Systems: I
Monday, November 1, 2010
Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Lower Level
Leguminous cover crops, which fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and add to the nitrogen content of the soil, have the potential to replace or partially replace commercial nitrogen fertilizers. In this experiment, field pea (Pisum arvense) was used as the leguminous cover crop in a corn (Zea mays) production system. In a 2-yr experiment (2008 and 2009), at two locations in Arkansas, field pea was planted on half the field in the fall and allowed to grow until late April to early May. Pea biomass was recorded, and plants were plowed into the soil, followed by corn planting. Six nitrogen treatments were applied at 0, 56, 112, 168, 224, and 280 Kg ha-1 to plots with and without cover crops. In both years, the field peas provided a significant amount of corn N needs. Corn yields in plots with pea cover crops maintained their yield on much less than the recommended rate of N. This has useful implications for producer profitability and the environment.