This presentation is accessible only to the Illinois State University community.

  • Off-Campus ISU Users: To download this item, click the "Off-Campus Download" button below. You will be prompted to log in with your ISU ULID and password.

Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Type





Dr. Rob Rhykerd

Mentor Department



Winter cover crops are being used in the Midwest to reduce nutrient runoff from agricultural fields and show potential to mitigate climate change. However, some have expressed concern that cover crops may reduce summer cash crop yields. This study evaluates the impact of selected cover crops on soybean yield and quality. A field study was conducted at the Western Illinois University Research Farm in Macomb, Illinois. The experimental design was a block design replicated four times. Winter cover crop treatments consisted of a peaclover-radish-oat mix, wild pennycress, golden pennycress, cereal rye, annual rye, and a fallow (reference) plot. Soybeans were the summer cash crop planted in June 2023. After the soybeans grew throughout the summer and reached maturity, they were ready for harvest in October 2023. During the harvesting process, the soybean yield was measured using a yield monitor. To evaluate soybean seed quality, plants were harvested by hand from a six-foot strip of the two center rows of the plots. The number of plants harvested from each plot were then counted for a plant population. Seeds were removed from the pods by hand after the plants had been air dried. Soybean seed samples were then analyzed for indicators of seed quality using a Near Infrared (NIR) Spectrometer. The NIR measured moisture, fiber, protein, oil, and ash. Results showed no significant differences in soybean yield. The winter cover crops had no impact on soybean seed quality. Longer term studies are needed to better show the impact of cover crops on summer cash crop yield and quality.

Off-Campus Download