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Termination Timing of Soybean Planted into Rye (06/27/19)

Though this report has little to do with current management issues, I thought it might be interesting to some of you to see the results of some of our ongoing research.

Though this report has little to do with current management issues, I thought it might be interesting to some of you to see the results of some of our ongoing research. In the wetter regions of the state, planting a cover crop like rye or camelina after the harvest of a small grain crop may be beneficial to the cropping system as it has the potential of protecting the soil until the next crop is sown. Soybean is the most common crop to follow small grains in this region of the state and I have had numerous questions about the best time to terminate a rye cover crop in the spring when planting soybeans. To help answer this question, we established a simple experiment where rye was terminated two weeks and one week before planting soybeans, at planting, one week and two weeks after planting. The effect of treatment timing on rye biomass can be seen in the front range of the following photo, with the earliest termination timing on the left and the latest timing on the right. As can be noted, the earliest timings resulted in little or no rye residue remaining at the time this picture was taken.

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Emerged weeds were counted earlier this week. Weed numbers declined as termination timing was delayed (see accompanying table) with very few weeds emerging in the last termination timing. Rye obviously has the potential for suppressing weed emergence! We were also concerned about the establishment of soybean in an actively growing rye crop. Data from this location (see table), showed no difference in emergence between the various treatments. In a dry spring, one could expect that soybean emergence would be impacted if the actively growing rye crop depleted the soil moisture prior to soybean planting. It was noted, that soybean plants growing in the latest rye removal date were about a full trifoliate behind the other rye termination timings.

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Planting a cover crop is recommended for fields that were not planted this spring. Not only can it protect the soil from erosion, it will use excess soil moisture, reduce nitrogen losses and suppress weeds. With the new date for use of crops planted to prevent plant acres, planting a forage crop may make economic sense especially if you or your neighbor raise cattle, or if you have access to equipment to bale hay. Picking the right species to plant, the best planting date and finding seed are critical next steps.

Joel Ransom

Extension Agronomist, Small Grains and Corn

This site is supported in part by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27144/accession 1013592] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the website author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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