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Nebraska Researchers Focusing on identifying the benefits of cover crops
Researchers from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln will focus on identifying the benefits of cover crops.
The short-term goals of that research are to identify the best cover crop species and varieties currently available through evaluation and screening, promote them to farmers and ranchers and increase effective options within the marketplace.
“Our main objective is to find a balance point between lower soybean yields from shorter-season soybean maturity groups and increased cover crop biomass production following harvest of early maturing soybean varieties,” said Assistant Extension Educator Chris Proctor, who is part of a team that also includes researchers from the University of Kentucky and Ohio State University. They received $461,187 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture for the study.
The team will also be evaluating the weed suppression potential, insect and pathogen interactions resulting from cover crops providing a bridge between soybean and corn, forage and grazing potential from cover crops, and the influence of cover crops on soil microbial communities.
This research was one of 54 projects recently funded through USDA-NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program totaling more than $17.7 million for plant research that helps optimize crop production, mitigate disease and increase yield.
"Plants are the foundation of diet for both humans and animals,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “It is imperative to invest in research to stay ahead of the biological and environmental constraints, and develop new technologies to produce a secure, nutritious food supply for a growing population."
This research will add to an extensive examination of cover crops already underway on cover crops.