Corn (Zea mays L.) was grown in Coastal bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.) with treatments representative of conventional, mulch, strip, and no-tillage systems, both with and without irrigation on Cecil soil. Corn was also grown in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea L.) with treatments representative of conventional, mulch, and no-tillage systems, also with and without irrigation. The ability to grow corn in Coastal bermudagrass and fescue sods is primarily related to the degree of competition offered by the perennial grasses, with success or failure of the corn-sod system depending on soil water availability.
In 1961, a year of above-average rainfall, corn grain yields without irrigation ranged from 4,077 kg/ha in the corn system treated with 4.5 kg/ha of maleic hydrazide to 6,586 kg/ha for the conventional treatment. In 1962, a year of below-average rainfall, corn yields ranged from 314 to 3,700 kg/ha for the same two treatments.
Fescue grass was less competitive than Coastal bermudagrass; therefore, corn yields with fescue grass were generally higher than with Coastal bermudagrass.
The lister-planter treatment as well as the 4.5- and 9-kg/ha maleic hydrazide rates applied to the grasses delayed corn germination and tasseling, reduced the height of the plant, average number of ears per stalk, and ear weight.
A corn-sod system with minimum tillage is feasible in the Southern Piedmont region; however, to be assured at good grain production, irrigation is necessary.