Project Details:

Weed seed bank depletion: investigating an overlooked benefit of cover crops

Parent Project: This is the first year of this project.
Checkoff Organization:North Central Soybean Research Program
Categories:Weed control, Cover Crops, Agronomy
Organization Project Code:
Project Year:2022
Lead Principal Investigator:Sarah Lancaster (Kansas State University)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Anita Dille (Kansas State University)
Joseph Ikley (North Dakota State University)
Bill Johnson (Purdue University)
Mandy Bish (University of Missouri)
Kevin Bradley (University of Missouri)
Rodrigo Werle (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
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Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

Cover crops are an accepted integrated weed management practice for their ability to reduce emergence and growth rate of driver weeds such as Palmer amaranth and waterhemp. However, there is little information about how cover crops affect the viability of weed seeds present in the soil. Reducing the weed seedbank has the potential to improve management of herbicide-resistant weeds by reducing weed density in the years following cover crop use. This project will investigate Palmer amaranth and waterhemp seed germination following burial in plots with and without a cereal rye cover crop. The study will be conducted in five states, with two locations in Kansas and Wisconsin. Germination results will be evaluated in the context of soil temperature and moisture at the field sites.

Project Objectives

Compare the effects of a cereal rye cover crop prior to soybean on weed seed germination and viability over time.

Project Deliverables

Data from the study will be shared with farmers through the investigators’ extension activities, including field days, newsletters, social media, and radio. Less traditional outreach, such as webinars and podcasts will be used as well.

Progress of Work

Updated April 1, 2022:
Palmer amaranth and/or waterhemp were collected from all states and shipped to KSU during fall of 2021. Seeds were cleaned, packaged, and returned to all states and planted as planned. Weather data are being monitored at each site, and communications have been initiated regarding retrieving seeds prior to soybean planting.

Final Project Results

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

A better understanding of seedbank dynamics of Palmer amaranth and waterhemp will improve weed management programs designed for multiple years of a cropping system.

Performance Metrics

Indicators of success include burial, retrieval and collection of seeds from each location, followed by data analysis and information dissemination.

Project Years