Cover Crop as New Weed Suppressor, Replacing Black Plastic
There’s a new research proving a new way to make the annoying weeds grow away. Since organic farming is not using any chemical, this new finding will support its advocate as it will want to take away these unwanted farm elements.
According to an organic farming blog, the Rodale Institute in Ziegler is leading an agricultural venture that will provide an easier and cheaper ways to keep farms from exasperating weeds while building livelier and healthier soils.
Their research is based on the current farming methods being used by the farmers under studied. They are using black plastic to suppress weeds. This method entails a lot of work and it is somehow expensive. They use a machine to lay the plastic and the plastics being used are not that affordable.
Another problem they saw from this method is the difficulty to recycle these plastics. They often times end up in landfills. Unfortunately, these do not provide nutrients to the soil.
Their research is centered in finding the right method which is both easy and affordable. According to their studies, they can use cover crop to manage weeds and, at the same time, provide nutrients to the plants. The good news here is that the protective cover crop is as effective as the black plastic. Whether you roll or mow, you will still have the same yield.
With cover crop, farmers will save a lot of money on gas (because they use machine in putting up the black plastic). They will also save time in the field.
The Rodale Institute funded $150,000 on this research. They planted three kinds of cover crop: (1) rye, (2) vetch, and (3) rye-vetch mix. They also used 3 ways to kill them: (1) plow them under, (2) cover with plastic, or (3) let the crop grow, then mow or roll them when they are mature.
To test what cover crop and method are effective, researchers plant a tomato. When the third and final year came, it shows that rye-vetch crop mix and the mow/roll method are performing like the black plastic.
Thus, they proved that farmers don’t need to spend a lot of money for the black plastic in order to suppress weed. The research proves that cover crop can work just like the black plastic and more (because it provides more nutrients).
The project was conducted on farms in Chester County, Lehigh County, Fogelsville, Maxatawny Township, and New Jersey.