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Agronomy Journal Abstract - CORN

No-Till Corn Productivity in a Southeastern United States Ultisol Amended with Poultry Litter


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 100 No. 5, p. 1401-1408
    Received: Dec 14, 2007

    * Corresponding author(s): Dinku.Endale@ars.usda.gov
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  1. Dinku M. Endale *a,
  2. Harry H. Schomberga,
  3. Dwight S. Fishera,
  4. Michael B. Jenkinsa,
  5. Ron R. Sharpea and
  6. Miguel L. Cabrerab
  1. a USDA-ARS, J. Phil Campbell Sr. Natural Resource Conserv. Center, 1420 Experiment Station Rd., Watkinsville, GA 30677
    b Crop and Soil Sciences Dep., Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602


Corn (Zea mays L.) producers in the southeastern United States must overcome soil and water limitations to take advantage of the expanding corn market. In this 2001 to 2005 study on a Cecil sandy loam (fine, kaolinitic, thermic Typic Kanhapludult) near Watkinsville, GA, we compared dry land corn biomass and yield under conventional tillage (CT) vs. no-tillage (NT) with ammonium nitrate or sulfate (based on availability) as conventional fertilizer (CF) vs. poultry litter (PL). In a randomized complete block split plot design with three replications, main plots were under tillage and subplots under fertilizer treatments. The cover crop was rye (Secale cereale L.). Over 5 yr, NT and PL increased grain yield by 11 and 18%, respectively, compared with CT and CF. Combined, NT and PL increased grain yield by 31% compared with conventionally tilled and fertilized corn. Similarly, soil water was 18% greater in NT than CT in the 0- to 10-cm depth. In 2 yr of measurements, dry matter of stalks and leaves and leaf area index under PL were an average of 39 and 22% greater, respectively, than under CF during reproduction. Values were 21 and 6% greater, respectively, under NT than CT but during tasseling. Analysis of 70 yr of daily rainfall records showed that supplemental irrigation is needed to meet optimal water requirement. Our results indicate that corn growers can use rainfall more efficiently, reduce yield losses to drought, and expect increased corn yields with a combination of no-tillage management and long-term use of poultry litter.

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Copyright © 2008. American Society of AgronomyCopyright © 2008 by the American Society of Agronomy