Potential of Including Cover Crops into Dryland Winter Wheat Cropping Systems in Northern Idaho
Thesis (M.S., Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences) -- University of Idaho, 2016 | Cover crops have potential to provide multiple benefits in a cropping system. There is a renewed interest in these crops due to their role in reducing chemical inputs and improving soil quality. However, there have been mixed results in the effectiveness of cover crops to prevent erosion, improve soil’s physical and biological properties, supply nutrients, suppress weeds, improve the availability of soil water, and break pest cycles along with various other benefits. The objective of this study is to examine the effects of growing a variety of spring planted cover crops compared to spring seed crops (i.e. canola, wheat, barley, and pea) and their impact on subsequent winter wheat production and profitability. Factors examined include soil fertility, soil moisture, plant biomass, yield from seed crop, and following wheat crops. Results provide information for growers to determine the economic, environmental, and sustainable feasibility of utilizing cover crops in the dryland regions of Northern Idaho.