Person: Clarke McGrath
In a Nutshell
• Cereal rye, oats and other
small grains grass species
have been proven as effective
cover crops in cornsoybean
systems in Iowa.
• Cooperators screened grass,
legume and brassica species
for fall and spring groundcover
in hand-seeded plots
(7.5’ x 25’) across the state.
• Cereal rye remains the
most consistent cover crop
providing fall groundcover,
overwintering capability and
spring groundcover across
• Brassicas generally produced
as much fall ground cover
as the small grains grasses
in the present iteration of
• Hairy vetch and radish
performed better than in
past iterations, likely due to
exceptional growing conditions
July 25, 2017
The latest iteration of PFI’s cover crop variety trial has been released: “Cover Crop Variety Trial, 2014-2015.” Cooperators evaluated 21 cover crop entries (pure stands and mixes) in small, hand-seeded plots across the state. See all the entries in the table below.
July 21, 2015
Cereal rye, oats and other cool-season,
small grains grass species have been
proven as effective cover crops in Iowa
crop production systems.
• Cooperators screened pure seedings
and mixtures of grass, legume and
brassica cover crops for ground cover
and aboveground biomass production
in small, hand-seeded plots across the
• Cereal rye and mustard tended to produce
the most amount of fall ground
• Cereal rye and field pennycress were
the only entries to consistently overwinter
and produce spring growth.
• Field pennycress may be a good option
for those in corn-soybean systems
looking to add diversity to their practice
of cover cropping.
July 16, 2015
Cover crop entries were hand seeded at
locations into standing corn and soybeans
and evaluated for fall ground cover,
spring ground cover, and spring biomass
• Cereal rye and mustard tended to
produce the most amount of fall ground
• Sufficient rainfall following cover crop
seeding is necessary for fall cover crop
growth and overwintering potential.
• Cereal rye was the only entry to
successfully overwinter and produce
spring growth and remains a strong
cover crop candidate even in the face of
a challenging winter.
August 19, 2014