Encouraging the use of Buckwheat Cover Crops for Weed Control by Reducing the Risk of Volunteer Seedlings 2006
Project Leader: T. Björkman, NYSAES, Cornell University, Geneva, NY
Cooperators: E. Henderson, Peacework Farm, Newark, NY; C. Blood, Rocky Top Acres, Hubbardsville, NY; M Maloney, Burnap Fruit Farm, Sodus, NY
Abstract: A buckwheat cover crop is known to be an effective weed control tool, but it is underutilized. An project to reestablish its use in the modern context is ongoing. One necessary addition is better guidance on preventing and managing buckwheat volunteers. This work has identified sources of volunteers and timing to minimize those sources. Accurate information on volunteer management will greatly facilitate adoption of a practice that can reduce weed pressure in vegetable systems and thereby reduce herbicide application by one spray while providing better weed control and less soil degradation.
Our findings have the practical conclusions that:
- Volunteers can be avoided by mowing or incorporating the crop 35 to 40 d after seeding.
- Seed that is planted too deep to emerge initially is not a source of volunteer seedlings.
- A cover crop can be successfully established by drilling, or by the cheaper method of broadcast seeding. In either case, seeds should be covered but as shallow as possible.