Cover crop management with a roller/crimper might reduce the need for herbicide. Weed suppression from a rolled cereal rye cover crop was compared to no cover crop with and without postemergence herbicide application in no-till soybean. The experiment was designed as a two-way factorial with rye termination and soybean planting date as the first factor and weed control treatment as the second. Cereal rye was drill-seeded in late September and managed using glyphosate followed by a roller/crimper in the spring. Soybean was no-till seeded after rolling and glyphosate was applied postemergence about 6 wk after planting to half the plots. Rye biomass doubled when delaying rye kill by 10 to 20 d. Weed density and biomass were reduced by the rye cover crop in all site–location combinations except one, but delaying rye kill and soybean planting date only reduced both weed density and biomass at a single location. The cover crop mulch provided weed control similar to the postemergence herbicide in two of four locations. Treatments did not affect soybean grain yield in 2007. In 2008, yield at Landisville with rye alone was equal to those yields receiving the postemergence herbicide, whereas at Rock Springs, it was equivalent or less. The net added cost of a rye cover crop was $123 ha−1 with or $68.50 ha−1 without a postemergence herbicide application. A rolled-rye cover crop sometimes provided acceptable weed control, but weed control alone did not justify the use of the cover crop. The potential for reduced herbicide use and other ecosystem services provided by a cover crop justify further refinement and research in this area.
Nomenclature: Glyphosate; rye, Secale cereale L.; soybean, Glycine max L.