By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter
When John Werries and his son Dean started using cover crops, their primary goal was to prevent soil erosion on their Illinois farm. Seven years later, they’ve discovered their cover crop of choice, cereal rye, which hates weeds as much as they do.
Illinois is home to some challenging herbicide-resistant weeds, including waterhemp populations that can survive six different herbicide modes of action. But, on the Werries’ farm, near Chapin, the chemicals get an assist. The Werries plant soybeans directly into thick stands of cereal rye and then terminate the growing cover crop.
“As all of the cover melts down — and it takes a long time — there is a mat that makes it tough for weeds to grow,” Werries explained. The suppression allowed them to cut back on their herbicide use in soybeans this year, and their fields stayed clean through the end of the season.