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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 101 No. 4, p. 940-946
    Received: Dec 9, 2008

    * Corresponding author(s): kgrover@nmsu.edu


Corn Grain Yields and Yield Stability in Four Long-Term Cropping Systems

  1. K. K. Grover *a,
  2. H. D. Karstenb and
  3. G. W. Rothb
  1. a Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, MSC 3Q, New Mexico State Univ., P.O. Box 30003, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8003
    b Dep. of Crop and Soil Sci., The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802


Most long-term studies evaluate only average crop yields and overlook year-to-year yield variability, which could be highly significant. Our objectives were to evaluate the impact of long-term cropping systems and fertility management on corn (Zea mays L.) yield and yield stability. Cropping systems were (i) CC, continuous corn; (ii) CS, corn-soybean [Glycine max (L) Merr.]; (iii) 4C4A, 4 yr corn-4 yr alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.); and (iv) COW2RT, corn-oat (Avena sativa L.)/winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)-2 yr red clover (Trifolium pratense L.)/timothy (Phleum pratense L.). Fertility regimes were inorganic, or manure based on crop N or P requirements. Averaged across fertility regimes, mean corn yields in 4C4A and COW2RT were 10 to 12% higher than CC, and 7% higher in 4C4A than CS. Yield trends were similar (0.28 Mg ha−1 yr−1) among all cropping systems. Coefficient of variation (CV) analysis indicated that yield variability was highest in CC (CV = 28%) and lowest in 4C4A (CV = 21%) across fertility regimes. Regression analysis indicated that response of corn yield to the environment mean did not differ among the cropping systems within inorganic and P-based manure fertility and corn yielded lower in CC than in 4C4A and COW2RT systems. Under N-based manure fertility, yield was lower in CC than in other systems in the poorest-yielding year, but similar in the highest-yielding year. Results suggest that, on average, rotations are likely to produce higher yields than CC across fertility regimes. In high-yielding years with N-based manure fertility, however, corn yield in monoculture may be similar to that in rotations.

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Copyright © 2009. American Society of AgronomyCopyright © 2009 by the American Society of Agronomy