The Effect of Barley Cover Crop Residue and Herbicide Management on the Arthropod Community in No-Till Soybeans

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Cover cropping has long been used as a method of reducing soil erosion, increasing soil quality and suppressing weeds. However, effects of cover crops in local farming systems are varied and can be affected by timing and method of cover crop termination. We conducted two field studies each in Upper Marlboro and Beltsville, Maryland between 2013 and 2014. The study consisted of three cover crop and one Fallow(F) treatments. Cover crop treatments were Early-Kill (EK) and Late-Kill in which the cover crop was killed with a post-emergent herbicide in late April and May, respectively; and flail mow (FM), in which a flail mower was used to terminate the cover crop in late May. In 2013 and 2014, plant sucking insects were consistently more numerous in EK than LK treatment. Our findings suggest chemical and mechanical termination on cover crops produce similar results on arthropod populations.