Date of this Version



Sweet corn, sweetcorn, Zea mays, winter rye, cover crops, no-tillage, cover crop termination, conservation tillage


No-till planting of sweet corn into a killed winter rye cover crop is not a widely used practice in Indiana, but has potential to provide soil health benefits such as reduced compaction, improved soil water-holding capacity, reduced evaporation from soil surface, in addition to other benefits. This paper reports on the second year of a project to develop a workable system at a university research farm that can be used for demonstration and in future research to better understand and improve production practices. The trial included two methods for killing rye in no-till systems: herbicide at the boot stage of rye, and roller-crimping either before or after seeding. Emergence and stand establishment problems in no-till plots last year led to changes in methods this year: weight was added to planter units for no-till plots, and irrigation was applied soon after seeding. An early and main season sweet corn cultivar responded similarly to treatments. Compared to conventional tillage, marketable ear number was reduced for sweet corn no-tilled into rye. When rye was killed by rolling, the number of marketable ears per plant was less than when rye was killed with herbicide. Marketable yield differences appear related to differences in emergence timing and uniformity. In rolled plots harvest was delayed approximately 10 days. Future work on the no-till system should include continued improvement in stand establishment as well as considering whether changes in nutrient and other management practices are warranted.


A presentation file about this trial is included the additional file section below.