Field experiments at Oakes, ND, USA in 2010 and Carrington, ND, USA in 2011 were conducted to evaluate the potential for cover crops grown in the Northern Great Plains, USA in order to reduce weed emergence and density in irrigated potatoes. Treatments included five cover crop treatments and three cover crop termination treatments. Termination of cover crops was done with glyphosate, disk-till, and roto-till. Cover crop biomass accumulation was greatest for rye/canola and triticale at Oakes, and hairy vetch and hairy vetch/rye at Carrington. Cover crop and termination affected weed control 14, 29, and 51 days after planting (DAP) at Oakes. Weed control at Carrington was at least 90% for all cover crop and termination treatments at all three evaluation timings. Marketable yield at Oakes was greater when roto-till was used to terminate the cover crops compared with disk-till or herbicide, which is beneficial for organic systems where herbicides are not used. Marketable yield at Carrington was not affected by cover crop or termination treatments. Results suggest that cover crops can successfully be integrated into irrigated potato production for weed control with yields equal to no cover crop, and with attention to potential mechanical difficulties.
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