Weed suppression and early sugar beet development under different cover crop mulches
Field experiments were conducted at two locations in 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 to investigate the weed suppressive ability of cover crop mulches in sugar beets. Three cover crops and two cover crop mixtures were tested in all four experiments. Weed densities ranged from 2 up to 210 plants/m2 in Chenopodium album L. and Stellaria media (L.) Vill. as predominant species. Sinapis alba grew significantly faster than Vicia sativa, Raphanus sativus var. niger, and both cover crop mixtures. Sinapis alba, Vicia sativa, Raphanus sativus var. niger reduced weed density by 57, 22, and 15% across all locations, respectively. A mixture of seven different cover crops reduced weed emergence by 64% compared to the control plot without cover crop mulch. Early sugar beet growth was enhanced by all mulch treatments in 2015 and decelerated in 2016.
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