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Spring Application of Winter Rye Grain for Weed Control in Summer Vegetables

Judson Reid, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

January 22, 2013

Spring Application of Winter Rye Grain for Weed Control in Summer Vegetables
Plasticulture production of vegetables has been widely adopted in the Northeast providing farmers with in-row weed control, soil moisture regulation and season extension. However, the bare row middles in this system require herbicide or cultivation which increase environmental impacts; impairing water quality, decreasing soil organic matter levels and increasing labor inputs. In 2012 the Cornell Vegetable Program was awarded a NESARE grant to evaluate a new use of cover crops, by sowing winter rye between plastic-mulched beds of tomatoes and onions on two cooperating farms. Both farms provided cultivation and herbicide treatments to enable us to compare weed control, yield and pest and disease impacts.

Results and Discussion
Rye as an inter-row cover crop presented challenges in this project. The primary effect observed was loss of yield, as measured by fresh weight of product. In tomatoes we lost over 8.5 pounds of marketable fruit per plant, a value of nearly $13/plant, assuming an average price of $1.50/lb, compared to the herbicide treatment. In onions the loss was over 18 lbs per 10 linear feet of row when compared to cultivation, the highest yielding treatment. Calculating onion economics is difficult as there are price differentials related to grade (bulb size) and market. However, rye treated plots yielded less than half than number of colossal bulbs (> 4" diameter) of herbicide and cultivation plots. The value of these bulbs is often $ 0.40 more than the next class, representing a loss of over $21 per 10 linear feet of bed.

What is causing this yield loss is not completely understood. Mid-summer rainfall at both farms was scarce, and thus water competition is a possibility. Nutrient competition is also possible, with nitrogen and potassium at times lower in the rye plots, although trends are not clear. Allelopathy from the rye has also been suggested, even though rye roots did not extend underneath the plastic mulch when examined. Pest pressure in the tomato crop did negatively affect yield as common armyworm and slug feeding lead to many unmarketable fruit. The armyworm infestation was a regional phenomenon at abnormally high levels in 2012.

Rye provided very good weed control at both farms. At our onion site it performed as well or better than herbicides and cultivation until harvest. At our tomato site late season weed pressure increased in the rye plots. There was an unexpected disease in the rye, leaf rust, caused by Puccinia recondita tritici at both sites. Although this disease did not impact the vegetable crop it reduced rye stands.

For more information on this project design, results, and conclusions, download the full report below.

Spring Application of Winter Rye for Weed Control in Summer Vegs - Final Report (pdf; 328KB)

more crops
Apples

Apples

Apricots

Apricots

Asparagus

Asparagus

Beets

Beets

Blueberries

Blueberries

Broccoli

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage

Cabbage

Carrots

Carrots

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

Cherries

Cherries

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Dry Beans

Dry Beans

Eggplant

Eggplant

Ethnic Vegetables

Ethnic Vegetables

Garlic

Garlic

Grapes

Grapes

Horseradish

Horseradish

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Leeks

Leeks

Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Melons

Melons

Nectarines

Nectarines

Onions

Onions

Parsnips

Parsnips

Peaches

Peaches

Pears

Pears

Peas

Peas

Peppers

Peppers

Plums

Plums

Potatoes

Potatoes

Pumpkins / Gourds

Pumpkins / Gourds

Radishes

Radishes

Raspberries / Blackberries

Raspberries / Blackberries

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Rutabaga

Rutabaga

Snap Beans

Snap Beans

Squash - Summer

Squash - Summer

Squash- Winter

Squash- Winter

Strawberries

Strawberries

Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Turnips

Turnips

more crops

Upcoming Events

Biocontrol Trial and IPM Field Meeting

August 20, 2019
4pm-6pm
Fort Plain, NY

4-5 pm: Dr's Amara Dunn and Meg McGrath will discuss powdery mildew control using biocontrols and organic and conventional fungicides.  Crystal Stewart from the ENYCHP will provide a tour of the biocontrol trial and additional squash and pumpkin mini-variety trial.

5-6pm: Walk the farm fields with Dr's Dunn and McGrath and with CVP specialist Elizabeth Buck to talk about integrated strategies to control pests, diseases, and weeds on the vegetables farm.  Bring samples and questions!

6-?pm: Discussion and light refreshments 

*Look for the CCE sign to park on a cross street right before the farm.

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Ag Manager Webinar Series: Ag Tax Topics - Sales Tax and Property Tax Issues for Ag in NYS

August 27, 2019
12:30 - 12:50pm

Join Liz Higgins from the CCE ENYCHP every other Tuesday at 12:30pm throughout the summer as she discusses pertinent business topics for busy farm managers.
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Willsboro Farm High Tunnel Twilight Meeting

August 27, 2019
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Willsboro, NY

Join vegetable specialists Elisabeth Hodgdon, Jud Reid, and farm manager Mike Davis for a high tunnel and field tour at Cornell's Willsboro Research Farm, where they will share research results for the following projects: 
  • Striped cucumber beetle management suing netting and row cover
  • Varietal differences in cucumber susceptibility to striped cucumber beetle
  • Ground cherry and goldenberry production in field and high tunnel environments
  • Overwintered high tunnel spinach nitrogen fertility 

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Announcements

Resources from CCE ENYCHP!

We are developing new ways to connect with the CCE ENYCHP team this year! We have a Youtube page located at this link. Check out videos on Table Grape Production, Pest Updates and the 20 Minute Ag Manager - in 4 Minutes series

We have a Facebook Page here as well as an Instagram page. We keep these places updated with current projects, events, and other interesting articles and deadlines.

There are also text alerts available. Fruit and vegetable farmers in 17 Eastern NY counties can now receive real time alerts on high risk disease and pest outbreaks texted directly to their cell phone. The Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture program, which is supported by local Cornell Cooperative Extension associations, will now offer text alerts to those that enroll in our program in 2019. 

The text alerts will be reserved for important crop alerts that could impact management decisions immediately. For instance, if there were an outbreak of Late Blight in the area, this would be transmitted to vegetable growers.

Farmers can choose the crop for which they wish to receive updates. Additionally they can request that Ag Business Alerts be sent to them. These alerts might include due dates for crop insurance deadlines, market opportunities etc.

If you have questions, please contact enychp@cornell.edu


Podcasts

Biweekly Vegetable News Podcast - Episode 8 - 08/07/19

August 7, 2019
The August 7th, 2019 edition of the Eastern New York Vegetable News covers the following topics:

Cover Crop Options for Late Summer (1:28)
Plectosporium and Angular Leaf Spot of Cucurbits (5:57)
Tomato Caterpillar Pests and a Late Blight Update (14:39)
New York State Bill to Eliminate the Use of Chlorpyrifos (22:25)
Basil Downy Mildew Management (24:04)
Garlic Anthracnose and Bacterial Issues in Onions Grown on Plastic (28:20)
Offering Retirement Benefits on the Farm (33:10)
Salt Water Flotation Test for Spotted Wing Drosophila (35:08)
Farm Labor Housing Update (39:45)

Here are links to additional resources mentioned in the episode:

Tomato Blight Alerts and Updates:
http://usablight.org/

Basil Downy Mildew
Dr. Meg McGrath: 631-727-3595 or mtm3@cornell.edu
http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/BasilDowny.html http://blogs.cornell.edu/livegpath/extension/basil-downy-mildew/

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