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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Corn Yield is Equal in Conventional, Reduced, and No Tillage after 20 Years


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 88 No. 5, p. 812-817
    Received: Apr 21, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. George Kapusta,
  2. Ronald F Krausz  and
  3. Joseph L. Matthews
  1. Dep. of Plant and Soil Science, Southern Illinois Univ., Carbondale, IL 62901



Reduced tillage has increased dramatically over the past several years and is expected to continue to increase in the future. Continuous no-till may become a popular tillage system with growers to facilitate compliance with government programs to control soil erosion. The objective of this research was to evaluate the long-term effects of four tillage systems and five fertilizer regimes on corn (Zea mays L.) yield. A 20-yr continuous-corn tillage ✕ fertility study was conducted from 1970 to 1990 on an Ebbert silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, niesic Argiaquic Argialbolls), an imperfectly drained soil at the Belleville Research Center, Belleville, IL. Starter fertilizer did not increase corn height within a tillage system. Height was greater in no-till compared with conventional till (moldboard plow), reduced till (chisel plow), or alternate till (2 yr no-till, 1 yr moldboard plow) with or without a starter fertilizer. There was no difference in population among tillage systems due to fertilizer treatment. Corn population was lower in no-till compared with conventional till regardless of fertilizer treatment. Starter fertilizer did not increase yield in any tillage system. Corn yield averaged 5 to 7% lower in no-till compared with conventional till or reduced till where a starter fertilizer was applied. There was no difference in yield among tillage systems when NPK was broadcast. Corn yield was equal in conventional till, alternate till, reduced till, and no-till with fertilizer applied broadcast on an imperfectly drained soil. Continuous no-till with an imperfectly drained soil does not reduce corn yield.

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