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PMC Study Plot

Spring Planting date: 4/1/2013

Cover Crop, Study Plot, 24 days following planting 24 days following planting, 4/25/2013
Cover Crop, Study Plot, 30 days following planting 30 days following planting, 5/1/2013
Cover Crop, Study Plot, 42 days following planting 42 days following planting, 5/13/2013
Cover Crop, Study Plot, 63 days following planting 63 days following planting, 6/3/2013
Cover Crop, Study Plot, crimping 109 days following planting Crimping, 109 days following planting, 6/19/2013

Cover Crop Termination

Because the PMC cover crop study is also evaluating soil health, all tillage from site preparation to cover crop termination, has been eliminated. The use of chemicals can be used to control weeds within the study. As much as possible, a crimper roller is used to terminate cover crops. It has proven to be very effective in terminating covers once plants begin to develop seed. Young plants are difficult to control with the crimper roller as plants tend to sprout or continue to grow. The roller crimper must break the flow of nutrients through the plant.

PMC Soil Health

So, how long does it take to see an improvement in soil health? Based on the slake test to evaluate soil aggregate stability, the PMC is beginning to see slight improvement in aggregate stability after just one growing season. Soils planted to legumes are showing the biggest improvement.

Soil sample showing tillage layers from years of tillage Soil sample showing tillage layers from years of tillage.
Slake test L to R: cowpeas, sunn hemp, pea/barley, yellow sweetclover, tilled soil, undisturbed soil
Soil slake test demonstration using soils from cowpea, sunn hemp, pea/barley and yellow sweetclover cover crop plots. Additional soil from a tilled area and native grass area were used.