Pros and Cons of Cover Cropping for No-till Vegetable & Row Crop Production

Pros and Cons of Cover Cropping for No-till Vegetable & Row Crop Production: Making sense of current research and past experiences

May 17TH, 2018, 8:45 AM – 4:30 PM, Madren Conference Center & Clemson Student Organic Farm, Clemson, SC

No-till vegetable production offers a more sustainable approach to weed management than the frequent use of herbicides and tillage, and promotes soil health. Because cover crop based no-till vegetable production involves a different approach to management, growers may be reluctant to transition from conventional tillage without seeing the system in action and knowing its costs and benefits compared with conventional tillage. Row crop farmers often have a concern whether cover crops, will deplete soil moisture and cause water stress for the next cash crop. In this workshop we will discuss the pros and cons of cover cropping in no-till vegetable and row crop systems based on current research and our experiences in the field over the past decade. A “Lunch and Learn” session will include demonstrations of weed ID techniques and the effectiveness of organic herbicides. Field tours of cover crop research plots at the Clemson Organic Farm (for vegetable production) and at nearby Millam Farm (row crop production) will be conducted following the Lunch and Learn session.  


8:45 Welcome and Introduction

9:00 Understanding the influence of cover crops and residue on soil nutrients and vegetable crop fertility (Dr. Bhupinder Farmaha, Asst. Professor and Nutrient Management Specialist, Clemson Edisto Research & Education Center)

10:00 What we have learned from organic research on cover cropping and no-till in the U.S. (Dr. Mark Schonbeck, Organic Cropping Systems Specialist and Consultant, Floyd, Virginia)

10:45 Break

11:15 Results of research in upstate SC to evaluate the influence of cover crops on stored soil water availability to subsequent crops. (Ricardo St Aime, Graduate Student, Clemson Dept. of Plant & Environmental Sciences)

11:45 Lessons learned in managing cover crops for no-till vegetable production: Four years of no-till research and vegetable production experience at the Clemson Student Organic Farm (Dave Robb, Clemson SOF Manager and Ph.D. candidate)

12:35 Travel by car to nearby Clemson Student Organic Farm

12:50 Lunch. Demonstration of weed identification techniques and effectiveness of organic herbicides. Dr. Matt Cutulle, Weed Scientist, Clemson Coastal Research and Education Center.

2:30 Tours of cover crop research plots. Participants may choose to tour plots at the Clemson organic Farm (focusing on no-till vegetable production led by Dave Robb), or to make a short drive to Milam Farm to tour research plots focusing on the effect of cover crops on soil moisture; led by Ricardo St. Aime, Extension agent Chris Talley and farmer Daniel Millam.

4:30 Adjourn


Fee to attend is $15 for the general public and no cost for extension agents.  Please follow this link to register:


Please send questions to Kelly Flynn

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