Research was conducted at Marianna, AR, for 2 yr to determine whether hairy vetch and Austrian winter pea cover crops would aid weed management programs in conservation-tilled, enhanced glyphosate-resistant cotton. Both cover crops were easily established and produced rapid growth in early spring, with biomass production of 435 to 491 g m−2 by Austrian winter pea and 415 to 438 g m−2 by hairy vetch. The effect of cover crops on weed control was short-lived in both years, with herbicide programs being the major determinant of weed control and seed-cotton yield. Averaged over cover crops, seed-cotton yields when the initial in-crop glyphosate application was delayed to the four-node cotton stage were up to 710 kg ha−1 less than in a PRE herbicide program. In 1 of 2 yr, seed-cotton yields were greater in PRE-treated plots compared with a program where initial weed management was delayed to the one-leaf stage of cotton. As a result of rapid decay of hairy vetch and Austrian winter pea biomass following cotton planting and the lack of adequate Palmer amaranth, pitted morningglory, and goosegrass control in the absence of herbicides, it appears there may be minimal weed management benefits from the use of hairy vetch and Austrian winter pea in Midsouth cotton production.
Nomenclature: Goosegrass, Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn. ELEIN; Palmer amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats AMAPA; pitted morningglory, Ipomoea lacunosa L. IPOLA; Austrian winter pea, Pisum sativum L. ssp. arvense (L.) Poir.; cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L.; hairy vetch, Vicia villosa Roth.