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Farm Progress Reports

Number

RFR A1545

Farm

Northwest and Allee Research and Demonstration Farms

Department

Agronomy

Fields

Crops and Soils

Areas

Corn

Abstract

Water quality impairment related to nitrogen (N) is a concern in Iowa, including meeting nitrate (NO3) drinking water standards and reducing the amount of N lost to the Gulf of Mexico. The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy science assessment identified a rye cover crop as an important in-field management practice for reducing N and phosphorus (P) loss from fields (31% NO3-N and 29% P), and for reducing soil erosion. However, the science assessment identified a corn yield reduction of 6 percent when grown following a rye cover crop. Lower corn yield with use of a cover crop is unacceptable to farmers, so it is important to identify practices that minimize impact on corn establishment, early-season growth, and yield. The objective of this project was to study production practices that might enhance corn yield when grown in a winter cereal rye cover cropping system.

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