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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Nitrogen Management

Nitrogen and Tillage Effects on Irrigated Continuous Corn Yields


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 1, p. 63-71
    Received: June 10, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): ardell.halvorson@ars.usda.gov
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  1. Ardell D. Halvorson *a,
  2. Arvin R. Mosierb,
  3. Curtis A. Reulea and
  4. Walter C. Bauscha
  1. a USDA-ARS, 2150 Cent. Ave., Bldg. D, Suite 100, Fort Collins, CO 80526
    b Agric. and Biol. Eng. Dep., Univ. of Florida, 281 Frazier Rogers Bldg., Museum Rd., P.O. Box 110570, Gainesville, FL 32611


A no-till (NT) production system has potential to reduce soil erosion, fossil fuel consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions compared with a conventional till (CT) system. Nitrogen fertilization (four to six N rates) and tillage system (CT and NT) effects on irrigated, continuous corn (Zea mays L.) yields were evaluated for 5 yr on a clay loam soil to determine the viability of the NT system and N needs for optimum yield. Corn in both NT and CT systems responded similarly to available N supply. Grain yields were significantly increased by N fertilization in both tillage systems, with a 16% higher average maximum yield in the CT than in the NT system. Grain yields were near maximum with an available N (soil + fertilizer N) level of 276 and 268 kg N ha−1 in the CT and NT systems, respectively. Nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency (NFUE) averaged 43% over N rates and years for both systems. Total N required to produce 1 Mg of grain at maximum yield averaged 19 and 20 kg N Mg−1 grain for the CT and NT systems, respectively. Corn residue increased with increasing N rate with no difference in residue production between tillage systems. The lower grain yield with NT probably resulted from the slow early spring development and delayed tasseling compared with the CT system as a result of cooler spring soil temperatures in the NT system. No-till, irrigated, continuous corn production has potential for replacing CT systems in the central Great Plains area, but with reduced yield potential. Current N fertilizer recommendations for CT corn based on yield goal may need to be modified for NT to account for the lower yield potential and slightly higher N requirement.

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