Onion – Cover Crops

Benefits

  • Cover crops reduce weed pressure (in terms of density and diversity) both physically (i.e. competion) and chemically (i.e. allelopathy)
  • Improve soil health by covering and protecting the soil
  • Act as soil protection against erosion and contribute to improve soil porosity and structure

Risks

  • Primary or secondary host of pests and microbes affecting subsequent cash crops
  • Varying effectiveness depending on species selection, sowing time, and local soil and environmental conditions
  • Lack of knowledge on proper cover crop selection and management techniques

Tips

  • Ensure the timely termination of the cover crops with non-chemical means (e.g., using animals, by mechanical means, spraying bio-herbicides) before onion sowing
  • Select appropriate cover crop species and sow them strategically within crop rotations or as intercrops. Pay attention to climate, soil type, and desired weed suppression characteristics. Seek advice from local agricultural advisors and/or discuss with other farmers which are the best species to sow
  • Monitor regularly the cover crop growth and weed populations to adjust management strategies as needed