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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

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Upcoming Events

September Last Monday Grant Webinar for Fruit and Vegetable Growers (reboot)

September 30, 2019
4:00 pm

Are you curious about what grants are available to help your farm business?

To help disseminate information on grants on a consistent basis, ENYCH is offering a "current grants" webinar on the last Monday of every month at 4:00pm

Each month's webinar focuses on 1 grant.  The September Webinar will focus on the NYS New Farmer Grant offered by NYS Empire Development.
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Allium Leafminer IPM Twilight Meeting

October 3, 2019
3:00pm - 5:00pm
Hurley, NY

Learn to identify and manage Allium Leafminer (ALM) in your allium crops.
 
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Specialists Ethan Grundberg and Teresa Rusinek will recap allium leafminer biology and distribution, discuss host preference and provide a tour of the research plots at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub. The research focuses on the use of reflective mulch to suppress ALM ovipostion on allium plants and insecticide application timing trial on leeks. The research aims to provide growers with targeted strategies to efficiently and effectively manage ALM. We welcome growers to bring securely bagged samples in clear plastic bags. Ample time will be provided for discussion.

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October Last Monday Grant Webinar for Fruit and Vegetable Growers

October 28, 2019
4:00 pm

Are you curious about what grants are available to help your farm business?

To help disseminate information on grants on a consistent basis, ENYCH is offering a "current grants" webinar on the last Monday of every month at 4:00pm

Each month's webinar focuses on 1 grant.  The October webinar topic is TBD but might feature Ag Labor Housing Grants.
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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 10 - 09/05/2019

September 5, 2019
The September 5th, 2019 edition of the Eastern New York Vegetable News covers the following topics:

Nitrogen Fertility in Overwintered Spinach (1:13)
Sweet Potato Harvest Practices (6:43)
Brassica Downy Mildew (14:44)
Purple Blotch and Stemphylium Leaf Blight (20:17)

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read transcript

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