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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Agronomy, Soils & Environmental Quality

Rye–Corn Silage Double-Cropping Reduces Corn Yield but Improves Environmental Impacts


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 104 No. 4, p. 888-896
    Received: Oct 13, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): tyson.ochsner@okstate.edu
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  1. Erik S. Kruegera,
  2. Tyson E. Ochsner *b,
  3. John M. Bakerd,
  4. Paul M. Porterc and
  5. Don C. Reicoskye
  1. a Dep. of Soil, Water, and Climate, Univ. of Minnesota, 1991 Upper Buford Cir., St. Paul, MN 55108
    b Dep. of Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State Univ., 368 Agricultural Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078
    d Soil and Water Management Research Unit, USDA-ARS,1991 Upper Buford Cir., St. Paul, MN 55108
    c Dep. of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, Univ. of Minnesota, 1991 Upper Buford Cir., St. Paul, MN 55108
    e USDA-ARS (retired), North Central Soil Conserv. Res. Lab., 803 Iowa Ave., Morris, MN 56267. Portions of this research were performed while the corresponding author was with USDA-ARS, St. Paul, MN


Recent proliferation of large dairies has prompted concern regarding environmental impacts of associated corn silage production and high-rate manure application. Our objectives were to compare environmental impacts and forage production of monocrop corn (Zea mays L.) silage and rye (Secale cereal L.)–corn silage double-crop systems with multiple corn planting dates and high-rate manure application near Morris, MN. From 2007 to 2009, corn for silage was seeded into a silt loam as a monocrop in early and mid-May and as a double-crop after rye in mid-May and early June. Manure was fall applied annually at average total N and P rates of 393 and 109 kg ha1, respectively. Double-cropping reduced total forage dry matter (DM) yield 2 of 3 yr and reduced corn DM yield 15 to 25%. Soil NO3–N to 90 cm accumulated at an average rate of 71 kg N ha1 yr1 with monocropping, but accumulation was not observed with double-cropping. Soil organic C concentration from 0 to 5 cm increased in the monocrop (18%) and double-crop (26%) systems over 3 yr. Average soil solution NO3–N concentration was high with monocropping (52 mg L1) and double-cropping (37 mg L1), but estimated leaching load averaged only 8 kg ha1 yr1. Fall and spring ground cover was often less than 10% with monocropping but was usually greater than 30% with double-cropping. The primary environmental concerns identified for monocrop corn silage were soil NO3–N buildup and inadequate ground cover. Double-cropping addressed each concern but often decreased forage production.

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