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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Corn

Corn Yield, Nitrogen Use, and Corn Rootworm Infestation of Rotations in the Northern Corn Belt


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 97 No. 3, p. 854-863
    Received: Oct 15, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): jpikul@ngirl.ars.usda.gov
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  1. Joseph L. Pikul *,
  2. Leslie Hammack and
  3. Walter E. Riedell
  1. USDA-ARS, Northern Grain Insects Res. Lab., 2923 Medary Ave., Brookings, SD 57006


Crop rotation may improve production efficiency and reduce fertilizer N requirements for corn (Zea mays L.). Objectives were to determine effect of rotation and N on corn yield, efficiency of water use (WUE) and N use (NUE), and corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) beetle populations (CR). Rotations (started in 1990) were continuous corn (CC), corn–soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] (CS), and a 4-yr rotation of corn–soybean–spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) companion-seeded with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)–alfalfa hay (CSWA). Nitrogen treatments for corn were corn fertilized for a grain yield of 8.5 Mg ha−1 (highN), 5.3 Mg ha−1 (midN), and no N fertilizer (noN). Average yield (1992–2003) was greatest (p = 0.003) under CS and highN (7.0 Mg ha−1). Yield differences (p = 0.001) among rotations increased with decreased fertilizer N. Average (1992–2003) yield with noN fertilizer was 5.8 Mg ha−1 under CSWA, 4.5 Mg ha−1 under CS, and 2.8 Mg ha−1 under CC. Nitrogen use efficiency differed (p = 0.096) only under midN with CSWA = CS > CC. Soil water (upper 1.8 m) for corn measured on 1 June (average of N treatments) was 55, 54, and 45 cm for CC, CS, and CSWA, respectively. For CSWA under highN, available water limited yield in 3 of 6 yr. At highN, CR adult populations were greater under CS compared with CC and greater at higher N fertilizer levels within CC. Rotations have potential to improve production efficiency; however, there is potential for reduced corn yield after alfalfa due to less available soil water.

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