Research looks at effects of winter crops on soybeans

How do winter crops affect your soybean production?

Sixth-generation farmer and graduate student MaKayla Gross gives an update on her research project that will provide producers with new information on how common winter crops like rye, wheat and rapeseed, affect spring-planted soybeans in North Carolina.

Producing a winter crop before soybeans is a common practice in North Carolina. Traditionally, wheat has been the main winter crop grown before soybeans, however, other emerging winter crop scenarios are on the rise which include rapeseed and cover crops.

The objective of this experiment is to determine the effect of winter crops on soybean productivity in North Carolina and update grower recommendations on soybean maturity groups in this system.

The experiment was conducted in two environments in 2019 including the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station (Rocky Mount, North Carolina) and the Piedmont Research Station (Salisbury, North Carolina) and is being repeated at three locations in 2020.

Treatments included:

• Wheat for grain

• Rapeseed for grain

• Cereal rye as cover crop

• Cereal rye/crimson clover as cover crop mix

• All winter crop scenarios were compared to fallow. Soybean varieties included were: MG III (P38A98X); V (P55A49X), and VII (P72A21X).

Data measured includes cover crop/residue biomass; winter crop grain yields; soybean emergence; soil moisture; soil temperature; N availability and soybean yield.

2019 and 2020 research results will be summarized and available to producers in a variety of formats and at the 2021 production meetings.

North Carolina State University contributed this article.

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