Cover crop acreage has substantially increased over the last few years due to the intent of growers to capitalize on federal conservation payments and incorporate sustainable practices into agricultural systems. Despite all the known benefits, widespread adoption of cover crops still remains limited due to potential cost and management requirements. Cover crop termination is crucial, because a poorly controlled cover crop can become a weed and lessen the yield potential of the current cash crop. A field study was conducted in fall 2015 and 2016 at the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville to evaluate preplant herbicide options for terminating cover crops. Glyphosate-containing treatments controlled 97% to 100% of cereal rye and wheat, but glyphosate alone controlled less than 57% of legume cover crops. The most effective way to control hairy vetch, Austrian winterpea, and crimson clover with glyphosate resulted from mixtures of glyphosate with glufosinate, 2,4-D, and dicamba. Higher rates of auxin herbicides improved control in these mixtures. Glufosinate alone or in mixture controlled legume cover crops 81% or more. Paraquat plus metribuzin was effective in terminating both cereal and legume cover crops, with control of cereal cover crops ranging from 87% to 97% and control of legumes ranging from 90% to 96%. None of these herbicides or mixtures adequately controlled rapeseed.
Nomenclature: 2,4-D; dicamba; glufosinate; glyphosate; metribuzin; paraquat; Austrian winterpea, Lathryrus hirsutus L.; cereal rye, Secale cereale L.; crimson clover, Trifolium incarnatum L.; hairy vetch, Vicia villosa Roth; rapeseed, Brassica napus L.; wheat, Triticum aestivum L.