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Successful use of cover crops may require seed treatments

Cover crops: when to terminate, when to leave to achieve maximum benefits

Most university recommendations call for terminating cover crops three to four weeks before planting the commercial crop.

That’s to encourage pests like the pea leaf weevil and the Southern corn rootworm to leave the area before seeding, according to Dr. Scott Stewart, professor at the University of Tennessee.

See also: Threecornered alfalfa hopper can be factor in cover crops and cotton

But most cover crop proponents say growers need to allow those covers to continue to grow right up to the time of planting the summer crop to achieve maximum benefits.

Some even plant their cash crops right into the standing, green cover crop vegetation, terminating it the same day.

Stewart, Extension entomologist with the West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson, talked about research he and others are conducting to find solutions for that conundrum during a presentation at the University of Tennessee’s Milan No-Till Field Day.

The Field Day is now held every other year on the grounds of the AgResearch and Education Center near Milan, Tenn.

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