Quantifying nitrogen credits and impacts of cover crops on soil biology and health in vegetable cropping systems in Iowa [E2014-16]

Project Description: 

The study will collect data on cover crop nitrogen credits, nitrogen scavenging capacity, biomass generation capability, weed suppression properties and effects on soil quality and health in vegetable cropping systems. The research includes traditional crops (cereal rye, oats) and nontraditional cover crops (brassicas, mustards, peas, clovers, etc.). Researchers hope to facilitate growers’ understanding and adoption of cover crops to improve soil quality and fruit and vegetable farm health. Cost-benefit analyses and enterprise budgets will be created for different cover crop types as tools for growers interested in the practice. 

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Lead Investigator: 
Ajay Nair
Lead Investigator Bio: 

Nair serves as the vegetable extension specialist at Iowa State University and engages growers and extension personnel through on-farm collaborative research/demonstration projects to improve grower skill and support the vegetable industry. He also serves on the board of Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and collaborates with Practical Farmers of Iowa, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Email: nairajay@iastate.edu

Co Investigators: 

Kathleen Delate, Horticulture, Iowa State University
Corry Bregendahl, ISU Extension Local Foods Team
Georgeanne Artz, Economics, Iowa State University