Project Activities

Cover Crops Evaluated

Commercially Available: Non-Commercially Available:
Sunn hemp (Tropic Sun) Sunn hemp (Sanni)
Sunn hemp (AU Golden) Cowpea (US-1136)
Iron Clay cowpea Cowpea (US-1137)
Slenderleaf rattlebox Cowpea (US-1138)


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.


  • 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:

  • Low biomass accumulation and low weed suppression compared to the other cover crops tested.

Research Assessments

Farmers and agricultural service providers evaluate the research design, treatments, and data collection and identify benefits and limitations of our research.

  • the participants are told what treatments are being tested but they do not know which treatment is in each plot
  • participants observe the field research plots and record their observations about plant vigor, weed suppression, pest damage, disease damage, etc.
  • participants then engage in a facilitated discussion as a group and identify the most desirable and least desirable treatments observed
  • participants then make recommendations for future experiments after the plot/treatment key is revealed

Research Assessment Report:

Field Day

Field Day Report:

Collaborator Assessments

  • we completed collaborator assessments and interviews with two of the three on-farm trial farmers
  • farmers identified positive and negative aspects of each cover crop during the first interview at the beginning of the experiment
  • they completed individual observation forms three times throughout the season to track their observations over time
  • they identified barriers to adoption of each cover crop and provided conditions where each cover crop would be expected to perform best during the final interview at the end of the experiment

Virtual Research Assessment

  • we created and launched a virtual field assessment (VFA) that allows participants to assess our field research online
  • we want to determine if the VFA increases our study enrollment and allows more Florida farmers to participate in our research
  • we present photos of our field research and ask participants to select their favorite treatments while considering factors such as plant vigor, weed suppression, canopy cover, and biomass accumulation
  • participants then elaborate on their selection and identify barriers to adoption of those cover crops
  • we will use the assessment results to improve our future cover crop research


Sattanno, K., Donovan, M., Swisher, M. E., Sharma, S., and Chase, C. A. (2020) Improving Cover Crop Research Through Stakeholder Feedback. Poster Presentation at the Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Annual Conference. Little Rock, AR. 2020 SSAWG CC Diversity Poster

Sattanno, K., Sharma, S., Chase, C., and Swisher, M. E. (2018) Increasing Cover Crop Diversity in Florida. Professional Agricultural Workers’ Annual Conference. 2018 PAWC CC Diversity Poster

Swisher, M. E., Sattanno, K. and Chase, C. (2017) Growing cover crop use in the Southern Region. Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Annual Conference. 2017 SSAWG CC Diversity Poster

Project Report

View the final project report HERE.

This work is supported by Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) project no. LS16-270 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.