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USA: How to knock out pigweed- Mississippi grower discovers cover crop benefits

Southwest Farm Press

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Winter cover crop options include mixture of plants that add nitrogen, improve water retention, and help control weeds in peanut fields.

One Mississippi producer may have found a way to rid his farm of pigweed, that prickly, fast-growing, troublesome weed dotting the Delta’s landscape. The solution, according Mississippi producer B. Jones, lies in a winter mix of beneficial vegetation.

When Delta F.A.R.M. (Farmers Advocating Resource Management) kicked off the Mississippi Healthy Soils Initiative in the fall of 2014 with the aim of demonstrating and evaluating better ways to build healthy soils, B. Jones and his brother, Will, were already believers in the benefits of a winter cover crop. What they didn’t know then, was how much pigweed control that cover crop would offer.

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The Jones brothers, who farm in Mississippi’s Holmes and Humphreys counties, began planting winter cover crops a few years ago, both for the soil benefits and for the promise of better weed control. Their initial crop mix was a seed blend out of west Tennessee that included clover, cereal rye and tillage radishes. While the clover provides a residual nitrogen benefit, especially for a spring corn crop, the tillage radishes aid in soil aeration and the cereal rye assists with weed control.

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