Presentation Title

A New Cover Crop for Vermont Farmers: The Annual Lupin

Project Collaborators

Edward Marques (Graduate Student Mentor), Dr. Deborah Neher (Reviewer), Dr. Terrence Bradshaw (Reviewer), Andi Kuhr (M.S. Mentor)

Abstract

Vermont's intense seasonality with it's short and highly variable growing season can make it increasingly difficult for farmer's to implement cover crops. Cover cropping is an important practice for improving soil health, capacity to hold nutrients and reduce run-off of fertilizers into rivers, streams, and lakes. Legumes with their nitrogen-fixing capacity and taproot structure are increasingly important as farmers look to reduce synthetic fertilizer inputs and soil compaction that both contribute to poorly sustained yields and increased environmental and fertilizer costs. The lupin species, Lupinius augustifolius or narrowleaf blue lupin, evaluated in this field trial is an annual variety that has been used extensively for green manure and cover cropping practices. It's cold-hardiness and special taproot system, excellence at mining phosphorous, and fixing nitrogen offers many potential uses in Vermont's agriculture both as a substitute for the less cold-tolerant soybean in maize systems and as a new source of highly digestible protein feed for dairy and livestock systems. Field trials were run to evaluate the potential of lupins as a cover crop here in Vermont by measuring yields and effect on nutrient status and soil properties across five varieties of narrowleaf lupin.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Eric Bishop Von Wettberg

Secondary Mentor NetID

dneher

Secondary Mentor Name

Deborah Neher

Graduate Student Mentors

Eddie Marques

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Program/Major

Plant and Soil Science

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

Secondary Research Category

Engineering & Physical Sciences

Tertiary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

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A New Cover Crop for Vermont Farmers: The Annual Lupin

Vermont's intense seasonality with it's short and highly variable growing season can make it increasingly difficult for farmer's to implement cover crops. Cover cropping is an important practice for improving soil health, capacity to hold nutrients and reduce run-off of fertilizers into rivers, streams, and lakes. Legumes with their nitrogen-fixing capacity and taproot structure are increasingly important as farmers look to reduce synthetic fertilizer inputs and soil compaction that both contribute to poorly sustained yields and increased environmental and fertilizer costs. The lupin species, Lupinius augustifolius or narrowleaf blue lupin, evaluated in this field trial is an annual variety that has been used extensively for green manure and cover cropping practices. It's cold-hardiness and special taproot system, excellence at mining phosphorous, and fixing nitrogen offers many potential uses in Vermont's agriculture both as a substitute for the less cold-tolerant soybean in maize systems and as a new source of highly digestible protein feed for dairy and livestock systems. Field trials were run to evaluate the potential of lupins as a cover crop here in Vermont by measuring yields and effect on nutrient status and soil properties across five varieties of narrowleaf lupin.