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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
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Cover crop termination


Mother nature stepped up and successfully terminated most of the cover crop species planted at the NIARC in the fall of 2013. Some were expected to winter kill, some not. For the second consecutive year cereal rye was the only cover crop that successfully overwintered at our location. Dr. Aaron Hager, University of Illinois Weeds Specialist shared information for producers looking to chemically terminate their cover crops this spring. In his Illinois Bulletin article, Dr. Hager shared that several factors influence the effectiveness of burndown treatments, including the cover crop species and growth stage, the herbicides and rates used, application parameters and environment.Research in Missouri has shown that cereal rye and hairy vetch are usually consistently controlled with appropriate treatments, whereas winter wheat, annual ryegrass and red clover can be more difficult to kill. As with controlling weeds, cover crops are easier to kill early in the spring while they are small.  They become progressively more difficult to kill as they approach reproductive stages. Receiving favorable temperatures have been a challenge so far this spring. Spraying when temperatures favor active plant growth minimizes problems; however, abnormally cold nights (<40° F) may reduce activity even when favorable temperatures (>60° F) occur during the day.

Dr. Hager's Illinois Bulletin article can be accessed in its entirety here

http://bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu/?p=1958


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