Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Alexis E. Racelis

Second Advisor

Dr. Frank J. Dirrigl

Third Advisor

Dr. Teresa Patricia Feria


Situated in deep South Texas, the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) is considered one the most productive agricultural regions in the southern US. With the highest concentration of organic farms in the state (Hidalgo county), finding management practices that comply with organic certification is increasingly pertinent. Cover cropping can serve multiple functions in an agroecosystem such as: suppressing weeds, increasing soil organic matter (SOM), increasing soil nitrates, and enhancing soil biodiversity. The four cover crops (lablab, sunn hemp, sudangrass, and pearl millet) were assessed to see their potential to increase soil nitrogen, to increase soil organic matter, and to suppress weeds. The results show that these subtropical varieties of cover crops have potential to enhance ecosystem services on agricultural land in the LRGV by increasing soil organic matter (in all varieties), increasing nitrogen in topsoil (Sunn Hemp), and reducing weeds (Sudangrass).


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