Date of this Version



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


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 waterholding capacity, reduced evaporation from soil surface, in addition to other benefits. This paper reports on 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 and roller-crimping either before or after seeding. An early and main season sweet corn cultivar responded similarly to treatments. Compared to conventional tillage, marketable yield was lower for sweet corn no-tilled into rye. The yield differences appear largely due to differences in emergence. Emergence was best with conventional tillage, and better in no-till plots when rye was killed with glyphosate than when rye was rolled. In rolled plots harvest was delayed approximately 1 week. To improve the no-till system it will be important to improve planting depth and covering of seed and assure adequate soil moisture at planting.