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Cereal Rye Cover Crop Effects on Soil Carbon and Physical Properties in Southeastern Indiana

Cereal rye as a cover crop has been shown to have many benefits including weed suppression, improved soil aggregation and structure, decreased bulk density and compaction, and improved soil water retention characteristics. Cereal rye was used as the cover crop in this regional project because it has good germination and establishment even when planted in late fall, exceptional winterhardiness, and early resumption of growth in the spring. These characteristics were likely to result in substantial biomass production across the broad range of field sites included in this study. This study was conducted to test the hypothesis that after four years of a cereal rye cover crop, there would be differences in soil physical and chemical properties between cover crop and no cover crop treatments.

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