Abstract

Long-term comparisons of alternative tillage systems are needed to evaluate their effect on corn (Zea mays L.) yield under the variable temperature and rainfall conditions of the Corn Belt. Our objective was to evaluate long-term effects of alternative tillage systems on corn growth and yield on low organic matter silt loam soils. The effect of no-tillage (NT), chisel plow (CP), and moldboard plow (MP) treatments on plant density and grain yield was measured from 1981 through 1990 on Palsgrove and Rozetta silt loam (fine-silty, mixed mesic Typic Hapludalfs) soils. Tillage treatments were randomly allocated to plots in 1981 and treatments were applied in subsequent years without rerandomization. Therefore, measurements over years on the same plot were treated as repeated measures. Grain yields for all tillage treatments were primarily affected by water stress, which varied with yearly weather conditions. Grain yield decreased approximately 0.3 Mg ha-1 per cm weighted water stress (WWS) for WWS >8 cm. No statistically significant yield differences among tillage treatments, when averaged over the 10-year period covered by the experiment, were detected. A combined analysis indicated that yield differences among tillage treatments did not depend on whether water stress or non-stress conditions occurred. Over half the variation in yearly differences in grain yield between tilled and NT treatments was explained by differences in plant density. Years were classified as stress or non-stress years on the basis of observed water stress and yearly weather factors. Variability among years was partitioned into variability among years within stress years and non-stress years. The difference in mean yields between ending (1989-90) and beginning (1981-82) years were used to investigate cumUlative effects of tillage treatments.

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Apr 28th, 8:30 AM

LONG-TERM TILLAGE EFFECTS ON CONTINUOUS CORN YIELDS

Long-term comparisons of alternative tillage systems are needed to evaluate their effect on corn (Zea mays L.) yield under the variable temperature and rainfall conditions of the Corn Belt. Our objective was to evaluate long-term effects of alternative tillage systems on corn growth and yield on low organic matter silt loam soils. The effect of no-tillage (NT), chisel plow (CP), and moldboard plow (MP) treatments on plant density and grain yield was measured from 1981 through 1990 on Palsgrove and Rozetta silt loam (fine-silty, mixed mesic Typic Hapludalfs) soils. Tillage treatments were randomly allocated to plots in 1981 and treatments were applied in subsequent years without rerandomization. Therefore, measurements over years on the same plot were treated as repeated measures. Grain yields for all tillage treatments were primarily affected by water stress, which varied with yearly weather conditions. Grain yield decreased approximately 0.3 Mg ha-1 per cm weighted water stress (WWS) for WWS >8 cm. No statistically significant yield differences among tillage treatments, when averaged over the 10-year period covered by the experiment, were detected. A combined analysis indicated that yield differences among tillage treatments did not depend on whether water stress or non-stress conditions occurred. Over half the variation in yearly differences in grain yield between tilled and NT treatments was explained by differences in plant density. Years were classified as stress or non-stress years on the basis of observed water stress and yearly weather factors. Variability among years was partitioned into variability among years within stress years and non-stress years. The difference in mean yields between ending (1989-90) and beginning (1981-82) years were used to investigate cumUlative effects of tillage treatments.