Evaluation of fall-seeded cereal cover crops and tillage management in organic dry bean production.
Weed control is the primary challenge in organic dry edible bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) production, however no previous Canadian studies have considered cereal cover crops for organic pulse production. The objectives of this study were to characterize the effects of fall rye (Secale cereal L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and oat (Avena sativa L.) cover crops and tillage management on weeds and the soil microclimate in organic dry beans. Above ground weed biomass was significantly lower in fall rye (3778 kg ha -1) and NT treatments (4867 kg ha -1). Fall rye significantly lowered spring soil nitrate-N by 72% and 74% in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Cover crops did not affect soil moisture or soil growing degree day (GDDsoil ) accumulation in early spring. Further research is needed on fall-seeded fall rye termination in organic conditions to reduce its competitiveness with the main crop.