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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Influence of No-tillage and Nitrogen Fertilization on Certain Soil Properties after 5 Years of Continuous Corn1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 69 No. 3, p. 383-386
    Received: Jan 29, 1976

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  1. R. L. Blevins,
  2. G. W. Thomas and
  3. P. L. Cornelius2



In no-tillage management systems for row crop production, plant residues, lime, and fertilizer are not incorporated into the soil. A major concern in continuous no-tillage farming is what effect not incorporating these materials will have on soil properties and nutrient availability. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of 5 years of continuous no-tillage and conventional-tillage of corn (Zea mays, L.) on certain chemical and physical properties of the soil. A field experiment was initiated in 1970 on a Maury silt loam (Typic Paleudalfs) soil. The experimental site had been in bluegrass (Poa pratensis, L.) for the past 50 years. A split-block design with four replications of treatments of 0, 84, 168, and 336 kg N/ha was used in combination with no-tillage and conventional-tillage. After 5 years of continuous corn production, soil samples from all treatments were analyzed for selected chemical and physical properties. Neither tillage treatment or N treatment had a statistically significant effect on soil density. Exchangeable Ca decreased with increasing rates of N but tillage methods did not significantly effect exchangeable Ca. Exchangeable Al increased with N rates and was higher under no-tillage than under conventional-tillage. The soil pH was lowered by increasing N rates and was lower with no-tillage than with conventional-tillage. Organic C was significantly higher under no-tillage and increased with increasing N rates. Organic soil N followed the same trends as organic C. Exchangeable Mg decreased under both tillage methods. No tillage with moderate rates of N most nearly preserved the soil chemical characteristics found under the original bluegrass sod.

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