Doctoral Dissertations

Orcid ID

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Plant Sciences

Major Professor

Renata N Oakes

Committee Members

Gary E. Bates, Virginia R. Sykes, Carl Sams, Chris Boyer


Living mulch (LM) is a practice in which forages are grown simultaneously with the main crop, serving as a living cover throughout the growing season. The LM systems were developed to alleviate concerns of soil depletion and finding ways to reduce tillage negative effects on soil productivity. In addition, when legumes are use can decrease the reliance on N fertilizer. The use of corn in LM have been previously studied due to the crop being a large commodity in the U.S.; In addition, the ability to graze the LM after corn production can increase the land use efficiency. To determine the benefits of LM in the Southeastern U.S., two studies were developed in Spring Hill, TN from 2018 to 2021: [1] two LM species, WC (Trifolium pratense L. [WC]) and a mixture of crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.) and cereal rye (Secale cereale L. [CCCR]), and cull cows were used for the grazing period of four weeks before planting and after harvest of corn to assess the ability of LM grazing, the study evaluated the botanical composition (BC), LM mass (LMM), nutritive value (NV), corn silage and grain production, and cows average daily gain (ADG); [2] WC LM was seeded with corn silage and grain in different N rates to determine the best level of fertilization when utilizing WC, it was assessed the production of corn at harvest, botanical composition, and LM mass throughout the corn growing season. Lastly, economic analysis was performed in both projects to determine the viability of the system.

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