Cover Crop Diversity

Photo of crops growing in a field

Cover Crop Diversity Through Evaluation and Increase from Breeder Stocks and Germplasm Repositories

Commercially Available Cover Crops Evaluated:
  • Sunn hemp (Tropic Sun)
  • Sunn hemp (AU Golden)
  • Iron Clay cowpea
  • Slenderleaf rattlebox
Experimental Cover Crops Evaluated:
  • Sunn hemp (Sanni)
  • Cowpea (US-1136)
  • Cowpea (US-1137)
  • Cowpea (US-1138)

Project Activities

In summer 2017, a field study was performed in Citra, FL at the University of Florida Plant Science Research and Education Unit. Commercially available Sunn hemp, Iron Clay cowpea, and slenderleaf rattlebox were evaluated against experimental lines of Sunn hemp and cowpea to determine their capability in suppressing weeds and producing equivalent or higher biomass.

Data Collected:
  • weed density
  • weed biomass
  • cover crop biomass
  • plant height
  • photosynthetically active radiation (PAR)
  • Sunn hemp – Tropic Sun and Sanni produced the most biomass among sunn hemp cultivars evaluated. Weed suppression ability was about the same among all of the sunn hemp cultivars.
  • Cowpea – US-1138 produced the most biomass and had the greatest weed suppression ability among all of the cowpea cultivars evaluated. The rest of the cowpea cultivars evaluated performed comparably.
  • Slenderleaf rattlebox – Had low biomass accumulation and low weed suppression compared to the other cover crops tested.

Team Members

Carlene Chase (PI) – UF
Patricio Munoz – UF
Mickie Swisher – UF
Esteban Rios – UF
Sunehali Sharma – UF
Kaylene Sattanno – UF