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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Using Poultry Litter, Irrigation, and Tall Fescue for No-Till Corn Production1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 2 No. 4, p. 497-500
    Received: Dec 12, 1972

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  1. J. R. Carreker,
  2. S. R. Wilkinson,
  3. J. E. Box Jr.,
  4. R. N. Dawson,
  5. E. R. Beaty,
  6. H. D. Morris and
  7. J. B. Jones Jr.2



A cropping system is needed in the Southern Piedmont and related areas for increasing production of grain and forage, controlling erosion, and providing a place for safe utilization of poultry litter. No-till corn (Zea mays L.) production in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) appears to offer such a system. Corn was notill planted and irrigated in live sod and in sod that was killed with 2.2 and 0.28 kg/ha atrazine and paraquat, respectively. Nitrogen, P, K, and lime applied uniformly to all treatments included 145, 98, 185, and 3,330 kg/ha in 1970 and 145, 138, 323, and 3,330 kg/ha in 1971, respectively. Subplot treatments were 5.6, 11.2, 22.4, and 44.8 metric tons/ha poultry litter, and 335 kg/ha N.

Measurements with electrical resistance blocks showed that soilwater content under the corn was never below 50% of the water between field capacity and wilting point. Corn population was higher and yields were better in the killed sod than in live sod both years. Yields in the killed sod were very satisfactory with 9,500 kg/ha (153 bu/acre) from 5.6 metric tons/ha poultry litter plus 145 kg/ha N and 12,960 kg/ha (207 bu/acre) from 480 kg/ha N. Tall fescue present in the live sod after corn harvest was above 2,000 kg/ha in 1970 and above 6,000 kg/ha in 1971. Dead grass plus poultry litter residues after killed sod in 1970 ranged from 6,360 kg/ha with N only to 30,200 kg/ha with 44.8 metric tons/ha poultry litter.

Poultry litter provides a vast resource of plant nutrients. No-till corn in tall fescue with irrigation and poultry litter will produce needed grain, conserve soil and water, and turn a waste product into a resource.

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