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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

No-Till Corn in Fescuegrass1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 64 No. 4, p. 500-503
    Received: Nov 5, 1971

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  1. John R. Carreker,
  2. James E. Box Jr.,
  3. Royal N. Dawson,
  4. E. R. Beaty and
  5. H. D. Morris2



The rolling soils of the Southern Piedmont are highly erosive when clean tilled. The area is well adapted to close-growing forage crops, but the thriving poultry industry in this region needs more grains. By combining no-till corn (Zea mays L.) production on fescuegrass (Festuca elatior, var. arrundinacea) sod with irrigation and adequate fertilization, a number of problems might be solved.

Corn was grown on Cecil sandy loam following corn and in live fescuegrass with and without irrigation in 1969, and by no-till planting in live, stunted, and killed fescuegrass with and without irrigation in 1970. Nitrogen rates applied to the corn were 148 kg/ha in 1969 and 112, 224, and 448 kg/ha in 1970.

Without irrigation, the corn and the live grass exhausted all available soil water during droughts in June, and the corn died. Corn growth in the stunted and killed sods was reduced, but the plants lived. With irrigation the corn and live grass used soil water faster than corn in dead sod until the corn developed a complete canopy. After the canopy developed, corn in killed sod used more soil water than did the corn in live sod. Without irrigation, corn yields were O with live sod and about 1000 kg/ha on killed sod and showed no response to N levels of 112, 224, and 448 kg/ha. With irrigation, yields were directly proportional to N levels and to the amount of live sod; yields ranged from 140 kg/ha with 112 kg/ha N on live sod to 9,980 kg/ha with 448 kg/ha N on killed sod. The excellent yields from corn in grass sod show that corn can be grown on the sloping fields of the Piedmont and related areas to fill the grain needs there without causing serious soil erosion.

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