MANAGING WATER, NITROGEN, AND ALLELOPATHY WITH A CEREAL RYE COVER CROP
Tully, Katherine L
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A cereal rye (Secale cereale) cover crop is a multi-functional tool in a no-till corn agroecosystem. The objectives of this study were to (1) quantify soil phenolic acid concentration under cereal rye shoots and roots, and how tillage impacts their release (2) evaluate the effects of cereal rye termination date on soil water, nitrogen, and corn performance compared to no cover crop. Soil phenolic acids have known allelopathic effects, inhibiting some weed seed germination or growth. Results suggest that cereal rye roots release more phenolic acids into the soil than cereal rye shoots, a novel finding. Results also suggest that corn grain yield following a late-terminated cereal rye cover crop is mediated by precipitation pattern and N release from cereal rye residues. During years of above average summer precipitation a late-terminated cereal rye cover crop does not affect corn grain yields and decreases residual inorganic soil N in the agroecosystem.