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Manhattan PMC Cover Crop Study

Cover crops provide many benefits to soil health and overall profitability within farming systems. This spring, the Manhattan Plant Materials Center (PMC) planted several cover crop studies and trials. In the study, ten different plots of single species were planted for observation and evaluation. In addition, two plots of mixed cover (10% of each cover crop species) were planted. Each research plot is evaluated for plant characteristics, growth curve; and carbon/nitrogen ratio.

The cover crops include:

The summer cover crop study consisted of 16 single-species plots and one plot of mixed cover. The cover crops included:

Table 1. Forage yield and carbon/nitrogen ratios for 11 cool-season and 17 warm-season cover crop entries for 2013 at Manhattan Plant Materials Center

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Entry Planting
Date
Forage Yield
(lbs/acre)
C/N Ratio
Days After Planting
30 60 90 30 60 90
Barley 4/01/13   1,078 2,121   20.9 38.5
Cover mix (spring)   1,040 2,665   15.9 34.1
Crimson clover   944 1,686   15.9 24.6
Ethiopian cabbage   908 3,196   12.9 40.7
Lentils   717 3,975   11.6 19.6
Oats   582 2,822   22.3 42.2
Pea, spring forage   1,150 4,382   14.0 30.0
Radish nitro (spring)   1,460 2,079   18.8 35.6
Triticale   635 993   17.3 21.0
Yellow mustard   935 1,341   17.0 26.9
Yellow sweet clover   818 1,570   14.3 15.4
Buckwheat 6/25/13 1,523 5,115   19.5 34.4  
Cover mix (summer) 1,953 10,553   14.6 28.1  
Cowpeas 1,449 5,207   14.9 16.2  
Flax 238 1,700   8.7 37.0  
Millet, German 1,974 9,882   14.0 43.8  
Millet, pearl 2,197 11,889   21.7 53.9  
Mung bean 1,414 5,911   14.7 31.3  
Radish, nitro (summer) 1,983 2,725   11.8 14.6  
Rapeseed 1,223 4,091   12.3 27.7  
Safflower 1,697 4,113   9.7 23.7  
Sorghum-sudangrass 1,256 13,516   29.0 74.6  
Sorghum-sudangrass, BMR 2,212 15,692   32.0 70.4  
Soybean, non GMO 678 6,597   10.8 31.0  
Sudangrass 2,623 22,993   34.2 56.2  
Sunn hemp 1,474 9,819   10.6 20.7  
Turnip, purple top 1,341 4,344   10.5 30.9  
Turnip, Winfred hybrid 927 4,458   8.0 25.5  

This table is also available for download (requires Adobe Reader).
Table 1 - Forage yield and carbon/nitrogen ratios
(PDF; 26 KB)