Wheat Performance Using No-Tillage with Controlled Wheel Traffic on a Clay Soil1
- Thomas J. Gerik and
- John E. Morrison2
Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is frequently grown in rotation with summer annual crops. These crops are usually grown in widely spaced rows that can easily adapt to controlled-traffic management, but high soil strengths prevent crop establishment into controlled-traffic lanes, eliminating one or more rows of wheat. Wheat can compensate (within limits) for lost cropping area, but the effect of no-tillage culture with controlled traffic is not known. We conducted this study to compare two tillage systems, conventional and no-tillage with controlled traffic, on grain yield and yield components of wheat. It was conducted over a 3-year period on an Austin silty clay (fine-silty, carbonatic, thermic Entic Haplustolls). The no-tillage treatment confined all wheelinduced compaction to controlled traffic zones at 2-m intervals. Crop residues were destroyed completely by repeated tillage and wheel traffic occurred randomly under the conventional tillage treatment. Hard red winter wheat (cv. Sturdy) was grown in rotation with row crops that were subjected to the same tillage and wheel traffic practices. Rows were spaced 20 cm apart in each tillage system, but two rows were deleted in the traffic zones of the no-tillage treatment, resulting in 20% less cropped area. Plants on rows adjacent to the controlled-traffic zones compensated for the absence of wheat within the traffic zones during years of adequate precipitation (1981 and 1983) by producing more tillers and grain than plants in rows within the no-tillage treatment and those grown under conventional tillage. Drought in 1982 significantly lowered tillering and grain yields under no-tillage. The study established that wheat can be grown using notillage with controlled traffic. Wheat should be grown with no-tillage controlled-traffic technology where drought is minimized or as a component of a total management system where yield increases from alternative crops and/or lower production costs are primary issues.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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