Virtual Field Day: Summer cover crops

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulture specialists held a Virtual Field Day at the ISU Horticulture Research Station recently to highlight the use and effects of summer cover crops in organic vegetable production. 

The projects at the Horticulture Research Station are focused on vegetable and fruit production. Graduate student Moriah Bilenky highlights the summer cover crop she has been working on for this Virtual Field Day.

“We started this [cover crop project] in 2019 and we are evaluating different summer cover crops for their benefits to fall vegetable production,” Bilenky said.

Eight different cover crops were evaluated for benefits like weed suppression, biomass production or nitrogen fixation and mineralization. Bilenky tours each cover crop in the Virtual Field Day video.

“This research project focuses on investigating how summer cover crops could fit under Iowa growing conditions and provide ecosystem services within organic production vegetable systems,” said Ajay Nair, associate horticulture professor and vegetable production extension specialist.

Cover crops can have many benefits to fall vegetable production and should be considered for commercial producers. The field day provides a firsthand assessment of the growth, establishment, and performance of summer cover crops under Iowa weather.