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Tillage Effects on Corn Emergence, Silage Yield, and Labor and Fuel Inputs in Double Cropping with Wheat


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 45 No. 6, p. 2523-2528
    Received: Feb 11, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): lithour@agro.auth.gr
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  1. Anastasios S. Lithourgidis *a,
  2. Constantinos A. Tsatsarelisb and
  3. Kico V. Dhimac
  1. a Dep. of Agronomy, University Farm, Aristotle Univ. of Thessaloniki, 570 01 Thermi, Greece
    b Dep. of Agricultural Engineering, Aristotle Univ. of Thessaloniki, 541 24 Thessaloniki, Greece
    c Technol. and Educ. Inst. of Thessaloniki, 541 01 Sindos, Greece


Conservation tillage systems can be an important part of a sustainable agricultural system providing benefits for the farmers in terms of labor and fuel consumption; however, yield variability may discourage and slow adoption. Field experiments were conducted for four consecutive growing seasons in northern Greece to investigate the effect of three tillage systems (no-tillage, reduced tillage, and conventional tillage) on corn (Zea mays L.) establishment and silage yield and to compare human labor and fuel consumption required for corn production under these tillage systems in double cropping with winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). The effect of tillage system on wheat grain yield was also evaluated. No significant differences in the emergence of corn plants were found between no-tillage and conventional tillage in two out of the 4 yr of the experimentation; however, in 2 yr, the number of the emerged corn plants was lower by 26 and 16% with no-tillage than with conventional tillage apparently because of dry soil conditions at sowing. In all years, the number of emerged corn plants in reduced tillage did not differ significantly from the other two tillage systems. No significant differences in corn silage yield were found among tillage systems, with the exception of 1 yr where a reduction in corn biomass by 13% was recorded with no-tillage compared with conventional tillage. There were on average 35.9 and 5.6% total time saving and 36.0 and 7.2% total fuel saving with no-tillage and reduced tillage, respectively. Despite significant differences among years, wheat yield was not affected by tillage practices. No-tillage or reduced tillage corn following winter wheat could be successfully implemented under favorable soil conditions at sowing with the advantage of reducing labor and fuel consumption compared with conventional tillage.

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