News Release

Study shows a single cover crop can outperform mixtures

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Cambridge University Press

Cotton being grown in a living white clover cover crop

image: Cotton being grown in a living white clover cover crop. Athens, GA. view more 

Credit: William Vencill

WESTMINSTER, Colorado – August 25, 2022 – Cover crops can be a valuable tool for weed suppression—successfully competing with weeds for light, water, nutrients and space. As a result, new cover crop seed mixes are growing in popularity as a sustainable option for weed management. But do these diverse mixtures do a better job at suppressing weeds than a single, monoculture cover crop?

In this multiyear field study featured in the journal Weed Science, a team from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada set out to answer that question. They compared 19 monoculture cover crops from four taxonomic groups (brassica, forb, grass, and legume), with 19 mixtures containing multiple plants that represented from one to three cover crop species. 

Their results demonstrated that weed biomass dramatically declined as cover crop biomass and diversity increased. However, monocultures of buckwheat, oat, pearl millet or sorghum sudangrass were typically more productive and more weed suppressive than the average mixture. This result was consistent across regions, seasons, mixture composition and functional diversity.


“If weed suppression is the primary goal, consistent evidence suggests that a single, high-performing cover crop may be the most effective option,” says Andrew G McKenzie-Gopsill, Ph.D., a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.


To learn more, read the open access article here: “The importance of species selection in cover crop mixture design”.


About Weed Science

Weed Science is a journal of the Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society focused on weeds and their impact on the environment. The publication presents peer-reviewed original research related to all aspects of weed science, including the biology, ecology, physiology, management and control of weeds. To learn more, visit

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.