Canola as a Cover Crop

Roller/CrimperWeed control presents a challenge for producers of pesticide-free horticultural crops. Many pesticide-free methods are costly and/or labor intensive. Research at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) facilitated the development of pesticide-free agriculture production methods that could potentially help farmers transition from soil fumigants to reduced-risk pest management strategies. Specifically, our canola research looked at canola as a cover crop for preemergent weed/disease suppression. We determined the effectiveness of several pesticide-free methods of killing canola to maximize weed-suppression in the production of strawberries, pumpkins, and fresh-market new potatoes, three high-value crops in the Midwest. This project was funded in 2010-2011 by the Environmental Protection Agency Region 5/American Farmland Trust grant.

While this method of weed control proved to be effective for strawberries, our study indicated that canola is not effective for use in pumpkins or potatoes.  For more information about this project, contact Steve Poppe at poppesr@morris.umn.edu