Cover crops for integrated weed, pest and disease management

Cover crops can disrupt pest and pathogen life cycles and suppress weeds. However, they can also act as a ‘green bridge’ and become weeds, so careful planning and management is required.

How do cover crops suppress weeds?

Cover crops can suppress weeds and volunteers by competing for light, water and nutrients. Some crops also release inhibitory chemical compounds from living or decomposing plant tissue.

Find out how cover crops fit into a weed management programme

The role of cover crops in pest control

Cover crops provide habitats for beneficial insects that prey on field pests. Some species have soil-fumigating properties that reduce pressure from nematodes and other soil pests.

Learn about cover crops as part of integrated pest management

Cover crops and disease management

Some cover crops can create disease management conflicts in the rotation. Selecting non-host cover crop species can help avoid soilborne pathogen carry-over to the following crop.

Read more about cover crop choice for disease management

Further information

Visit the integrated pest management (IPM) hub

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