Influence of Tillage on Nutrient Uptake and Yield of Corn1
- W. L. Hargrove2
Though it appears that the surface accumulation of soil nutrients and the shallower distribution of roots is not detrimental to crop growth and yield under no-tillage management, supportive data with respect to nutrient uptake are scarce. A field plot study was conducted over 3 yr utilizing four tillage treatments: (i) conventional tillage (moldboard plow); (ii) no-tillage (coulter); (iii) no-tillage with shallow (10 to 15 cm) in-row chisel; and (iv) no-tillage with deep (30 to 45 cm) in-row chisel. The objective was to determine the influence of tillage on nutrient uptake and yield of corn by: (i) measuring changes in distribution of soil nutrients; (ii) determining the nutrient status of corn plants; (iii) measuring rubidium (Rb) uptake by corn plants when Rb was placed at various row positions and depths in the soil profile; and (iv) measuring grain yields. No-tillage treatments resulted in a redistribution and concentration of soil nutrients at the soil surface, compared with conventional tillage. However, the nutrient status of plants grown under no-tillage management was equal or superior to those grown by conventional tillage. Furthermore, the activity of roots and the extraction of water and nutrients, as evidenced by Rb uptake, was greater for no-tillage compared with conventional tillage. No-tillage, whether in-row chisel was included or not, resulted in larger plants and greater grain yields. No evidence was obtained that would support deeper placement of nutrients or in-row chisel operations to improve subsoil rooting under no-tillage.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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