Effect of Fagopyrum esculentum (buckwheat) on soil aggregate stability and suppression of common weed varieties
Burns, Megan M.
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Farmers and agricultural researchers have become increasingly interested in looking for more effective ways to reduce crop yield limitations. For the diversity of their functions, cover crops have been one area of focus. The fast germination, quick growth, and broadleaf structure of buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) allow for its effective use as a cover crop. Past studies have suggested that F. esculentum is able to maintain or improve soil structure; further investigation is needed in order to determine the exact effect. In this study, I observed whether seeding method and seeding rate of F. esculentum had a beneficial effect of suppressing weeds and building soil structure. I included four replicates of eight different treatments of varying seeding methods and seeding rates of F. esculentum to determine the overall effects of these two variables. After 29 days of growth, I collected the biomass sample weight of both F. esculentum and weeds. From the soil samples I from each experimental plot I extracted soil aggregates (3 – 5 mm) and subjected them to a test on aggregate stability. Overall, my study demonstrated that F. esculentum was effective at suppressing a variety of common weeds, but ineffective at increasing the aggregate stability of the soil. Further studies may hope to utilize the methods of the Extended Spade Diagnosis I have introduced in this study to further contribute to the understanding of how to increase and effectively use sustainable farming practices.