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Effect of Cover Crops Alfalfa, Red Clover, and Perennial Ryegrass on Soybean Cyst Nematode Population and Soybean and Corn Yields in Minnesota


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 46 No. 5, p. 1890-1897
    Received: Sept 1, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): chenx099@umn.edu
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  1. Senyu Chen *a,
  2. Donald L. Wyseb,
  3. Gregg A. Johnsona,
  4. Paul M. Porterb,
  5. Salliana R. Stetinac,
  6. Daniel R. Millera,
  7. Kevin J. Bettsb,
  8. Lee D. Klossnerc and
  9. Milton J. Haarc
  1. a University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center, 35838 120th Street, Waseca, MN 59093
    b Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108
    c University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center, Lamberton, MN 56152. (Salliana R. Stetina's current address is USDA ARS Crop Genetics and Production Research Unit, PO Box 345, Stoneville, MS 38776.)


The effects of alfalfa, red clover, and perennial ryegrass as cover crops on soybean cyst nematode (SCN) and soybean and corn yields were evaluated in Waseca, Lamberton, and Rosemount, MN. The cover crops were interseeded in soybean at 0 or 2 wks after planting soybean in 2002 and killed with herbicide before planting corn in 2003. As expected, SCN-susceptible soybean supported higher SCN population density than SCN-resistant soybean. Reduction of SCN population density by red clover (up to 40%) and alfalfa (up to 55%) was observed in some sampling occasions at Lamberton and Rosemount, probably due to reduced soybean growth, but the effect was inconsistent. No significant reduction of SCN population by the two crops was detected at Waseca. While perennial ryegrass did not affect SCN population density in most cases, up to 46% higher egg population densities were observed in the perennial ryegrass treatment as compared to the control at Waseca. SCN-resistant soybean produced higher yield than susceptible soybean at all sites. While alfalfa reduced soybean yield at Lamberton (up to 50%) and Rosemount (up to 11%), red clover and perennial ryegrass reduced soybean yield only at Lamberton (up to 38%) and Waseca (up to 34%), respectively. No difference in corn yield was observed at Waseca. At Lamberton, alfalfa and red clover planted at the time of planting soybean reduced corn yield in the following year 17 and 13%, respectively, and perennial ryegrass planted 2 wks after planting soybean reduced corn yield 13%. At Rosemount, significant reduction of corn yield was observed with red clover (15–21%) interseeded in SCN-susceptible soybean and with alfalfa (12%) and red clover (12%) interseeded in SCN-resistant soybean at the time of planting soybean. The results suggest that an even later planting date of cover crops in soybean may reduce yield loss due to competition and make these cover crops more appropriate for use in the soybean-corn rotation in Minnesota.

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