Updated: Jan 6
The following piece was written by Dr. Michael Flessner. Dr. Flessner is an Assistant Professor in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech. His research and extension program focuses on solving weed management challenges facing Virginia with an emphasis on environmentally and economically sustainable solutions. Hear more from Dr. Flessner on cover crops and weed management in his interview on the Cover Crop Strategies Podcast.
It is August in Virginia which means it's time to start planning for cover crop planting. Follow these simple steps when working with farmers or for building a plan for your own operation:
1) Consider which of the many goals you want to achieve with your cover crop, carefully select species to achieve this goal. Use this decision support tool to help.
2) If you've applied residual herbicides this season, there is potential for herbicide carryover injury to the cover crop. Check the Virginia Cooperative Extension Field Crops Pest Management Guide (Tables 5.27 (pp. 5-114), 5.60 (pp. 5-208), and 5.1121 (pp. 5-376) for corn, soybean, and cotton herbicides, respectively) for guidance and recommendations.
3) Don't forget about terminating the cover crop. Here are three resources to consult and create a plan:
(i) Review the GROW (Getting Rid of Weeds) webpage to weigh the various termination
(ii) Consult the Virginia Cooperative Extension Field Crops Pest Management Guide Tables
5.11 (pp. 5-65) and 5.46 (pp. 5-161) for herbicide termination prior to corn and soybean
(iii) Explore data from local herbicide research in this Virginia Cooperative Extension
4) Happy harvest and cover crop planting!
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