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Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

4-11-2018

Degree Program

Plant Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2018

Month Degree Awarded

May

Abstract

Fall-planted forage radish (Raphanus sativus L. longipinnatus) cover crops have shown successful weed suppression and recycling of fall-captured nutrients. This research evaluated the nutrient cycling and weed suppressive benefits of forage radish cover crop mixtures to develop an integrated system for no-till sweet corn (Zea mays L. var rugosa) production that improves crop yield and soil health. Treatments included forage radish (FR), oats (Avena sativa L.) and forage radish (OFR), a mixture of peas (Pisum sativum subsp arvense L.), oats and forage radish (POFR), and no cover crop control (NCC). Subplots were assigned to nitrogen fertilizer treatments to evaluate N sufficiency and timing: 0 kg N ha-1 as the control, 28 kg N ha-1 at side-dress, and 56 kg N ha-1 with application split between planting and side-dress. Results indicated that POFR and OFR provided improved N cycling and sweet corn yield compared with FR and NCC. Early season N from decomposing cover crop residue was sufficient to eliminate the need for N fertilizer at sweet corn planting, thereby reducing input costs and risks of environmental pollution.

First Advisor

Masoud Hashemi

Second Advisor

Wesley Autio

Third Advisor

Prasanta Bhowmik

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