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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Soil Mangement Factors and Growth of Zea mays L. on Topsoil and Exposed Subsoil1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 64 No. 5, p. 648-652
    Received: Jan 15, 1972

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  1. A. R. Batchelder and
  2. J. N. Jones Jr.2



Exposed subsoils frequently are infertile and have low available water storage capacities. Corn (Zea mays L.) was grown for 4 years on a Groseclose clay loam surface soil and exposed clay subsoil to study the effects of selected management practices on subsoil productivity and the available water storage in exposed subsoils. Half of the exposed subsoil plots were covered with straw mulch, and half of all plots were irrigated. Lime was added the first 2 years and fertilizer was added each year to alleviate the growth-limiting effects of low pH and low fertility.

The treatments were reflected in surface water runoff from the 10 to 12% slopes, in soil water tension relation. ships, in plant growth, and in grain yields..Mulching reduced the surface water runoff, resulting in greater net water input. The soil water tensions to a depth of 45 on were generally lower under the straw mulch without irrigation than with either of the topsoil treatments.

Top growth and grain yields generally increased on the subsoil treatments each year, and in the 4th year yields from the irrigated subsoil without mulch and both the irrigated and nonirrigated subsoil with mulch were equivalent to those of the irrigated topsoil, and significantly greater than those of topsoil without irrigation. In the last 2 years, when soil tests indicated that the low pH and low fertility had been mitigated, relative yields were markedly affected by the number of days during which the soil water tension at the 45-cm depth exceeded 700 mb.

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