Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Evans, William

Committee Member

Nagel, David

Committee Member

Blackwell, Eric

Committee Member

Snyder, Richard

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Plant and Soil Sciences


Cover crops and composted broiler litter (CBL) are two organic methods used to improve soils and organic vegetable production. The objectives of this study included determining the extent summer cover crops and CBL alter nutrient availability in soil, determining how summer cover crops and CBL influence fall vegetable crops in organic production systems and identifying which cover crops/ CBL combinations improve fall vegetable crop production best. Four cover crops were tested: sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea), sesame (Sesamum indicum), sorghum sudan grass (Sorghum X drummondii) and a sunn hemp + sesame blend, in combination with four composted broiler litter rates: 0, 2,800, 5,600, 11,200 kg.ha-1 for two years. Few differences were seen among cover crop treatments except for the sorghum sudan grass treatment, which had negative effects on fall broccoli production unless combined with CBL. The CBL increased nutrient availability, percent organic matter, pH and broccoli yield as the rate increased.