How Does Planting Green Affect Herbicide Use, Soil Moisture & More? 

The practice of planting green into a living cover crop stand can be a great tool for suppressing weeds, but it comes with a lot of questions: Can it reduce herbicide use? Or soil moisture? Is your planter able to manage all that residue? 

Penn State researchers are devoting lots of time and research to answering these questions – and more –  for farmers, with help from USDA funding. 

How Does Planting Green Affect Herbicide Use, Yield and More?

In one long-term cover crop study, PSU Extension weed specialist John Wallace has compared planting green to the more traditional practice of “planting brown,” or terminating the cover well before planting. After three years, he’s uncovered important information about how planting green can reduce herbicide use and affect soil moisture, weed pressure and even yield – watch the video below for the details:

For a full explanation of their findings, read the PSU team’s recently published study here.

Planting Green into Dry Conditions

In his time studying planting green, and learning from Pennsylvania farmers who have led the nation in this practice, Wallace has come across a key factor: spring weather. Planting green can be a big assist in wet springs, when soil moisture needs somewhere to go, but in dry springs…watch out! 

Learn more here: 

Tips for Planting Into High Residue

Another common issue that the Penn State team and farmers have encountered with planting green is the challenge of planting into thick, green stands of cover crops – usually cereal rye. 

Learn about one planter set-up that Wallace and PSU Research Technician Tosh Mazzone currently use to help them plant through high residue with ease and flexibility: 

For more research on planting green, see these GROW News Page articles

Learn more from GROW about using cover crops for weed suppression here

Videos by Claudio Rubione, GROW; Text by Emily Unglesbee, GROW.