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There is no shortage of yield-robbing diseases with soybeans, but a tool no-tillers may be using could help prevent them.
A 3-year Illinois study, in its final stages, found that cereal rye and winter rape may help suppress diseases and protect soybeans from the harm and stress of pathogens.
Suppression Testing. The objective of the study, conducted by the University of Illinois, Western Illinois and Southern Illinois universities, was to determine the effects of cover crops on both decreasing the incidence and severity of soybean diseases caused by soil-borne pathogens, and increasing soybean yields.
Trials began in fall 2010, with cereal rye and winter rape planted in the fall on two onfarm no-till trials — the Ayres Farm in east-central Illinois and the Hunt Farm in western Illinois. They were then terminated with glyphosate the following spring, and soybeans were planted into the terminated covers about 2 weeks later.
Trials were also conducted at the University of Illinois and Western Illinois University, where they planted canola, mustard, rape and rye in the fall, and incorporated them into the soil in the spring before planting soybeans. At the Western Illinois location, cereal rye was included for 2010-11.
The planting rate for the covers was the same for all locations — 56 pounds per acre for cereal rye, and 10 pounds per acre for the other covers.
The study found that soils that had cereal rye and winter rape planted in them had better outcomes than those planted with other cover crops…