Spring-Seeded Smother Plants for Weed Control in Corn and Other Annual Crops
Corn producers in developed countries rely heavily on herbicides and mechanical tillage to control weeds. The development of short-lived spring-seeded cover crops is an alternative method of generating cover crops adapted for use in the Upper Midwest. Spring-seeded smother plants are defined as specialized cover crops that have been selected for their ability to suppress weeds without affecting main crop development or yield. Cover crops or smother crops have been proposed as an alternative weed control method in corn. Corn development and yield results indicate that the dwarf Brassica smother plant may have a minimal impact on corn under some environmental conditions, but that it could have a negative effect if the availability of nitrogen or other nutrients is limited. Smother plant evaluation under conditions of more intense weed competition than observed in this study will be required to fully assess the technology.