Of the issues faced by organic row crop producers, weed management remains one of the top challenges. Although organic producers use a variety of approaches to help manage weeds in organic systems – including cover cropping, crop rotation, and cultivar selection – tillage and cultivation are often used as primary tools to manage in-season weeds. Unfortunately, this soil disturbance can put fields at risk of soil erosion and compaction, as well as putting demands on farmer time and equipment. In an effort to address these issues, both farmers and researchers have increasingly investigated a technique using cover crops to smother weeds in organic row crop production. This system, commonly referred to as organic no-till or cover crop-based reduced-till, greatly minimizes soil disturbance in the field, thus enhancing soil quality by maximizing soil cover, minimizing erosion and improving soil organisms and biological processes.
For further discussion of no-till, check out this article hosted by eXtension.org: Organic No-Till Grain Production in the Midwest.
UW Extension YouTube Video on Organic No-Till