Date of Graduation

Fall 2018


Master of Natural and Applied Science in Agriculture


College of Agriculture

Committee Chair

Sarah Lancaster


cover crop, cover crop mixtures, cover crop biomass, cover crop biomass N, cover crop C/N ratio, cash crop yield, meta-analysis

Subject Categories

Agricultural Science | Agriculture | Agronomy and Crop Sciences


A field study and a meta-analysis were conducted to compare the impact of cover crops on carbon and nitrogen dynamics and cash crop yield. The field study included six treatments: winter cereal rye, winter cereal rye-Austrian winter pea at two seeding rates, cereal rye-Austrian winter pea-radish at two seeding rates, and a no cover control. Meta-analysis data sets were compiled from studies published between 1994 and 2017. Treatments were grouped into the following classifications: monoculture, binary mix, polyculture, or control. In both the field study and meta-analysis, cover crops did not affect cash crop yield. However, plant biomass and plant biomass N in binary mixtures containing legumes were greater in both the field study and meta-analysis. Binary mixtures proved as beneficial as polycultures potentially reducing grower’s seed costs and management decisions. The meta-analysis allowed data to be analyzed across all regions, environments, and crops, and highlighted a lack of cover crop mixture data emphasizing the need for additional future research


© Brionna Lee West

Open Access