Corn Response to Seed-Row Residue Removal
- T. C. Kaspar ,
- D. C. Erbach and
- R. M. Cruse
No-till corn (Zea mays L.) yields in the central Corn Belt often are limited by slow soil warming caused by surface crop residues. A 3-yr experiment with a split-plot design was conducted near Ames, IA, to determine corn response to seed-row residue removal. Whole-plot treatments were a factorial combination of two tillage systems (no-till and moldboard plow) and three residue types (corn, soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], and fiberglass insulation). Residue was removed from bands of various widths (0, 8, 16, 32, and 76 cm) centered on the seed row for five split-plot treatments. Corn seedlings reached 50% emergence 0.5 d earlier in plots with soybean residue than in those with corn residue. No-till seedlings reached 50% emergence 0.8 d sooner and 50% tasseling 0.9 d sooner than in the mold-board-plow system. Residue removal from the seed row had greater effects on plant growth and yield than either tillage or residue type. Seed-row residue removal reduced days to 50% emergence and tasseling, increased plant height, decreased grain moisture and barrenness, and increased yield. Removing residue from a 16-cm wide band resulted in corn yields that were only 3% less than those from bare soil. Plant responses to width of the residue-free band were described by logarithmic functions. Seed-row residue removal may allow a compromise between erosion protection and crop yield.
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