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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 60 No. 6, p. 1856-1861
    Received: July 31, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): tmcgonig@lrs.uoguelph.ca
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Mycorrhizae, Phosphorus Absorption, and Yield of Maize in Response to Tillage

  1. Terence P. McGonigle  and
  2. Murray H. Miller
  1. Department of Land Resource Science, Univ. of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada



Maize (Zea mays L.) in the early season in no-till (NT), compared with conventional tillage (CT), has reduced dry matter due to cooler temperatures near the seed, in spite of increased plant P absorption caused by more effective mycorrhizae in the less-disturbed soil. We grew maize under NT and CT in a soil with 1.6 mg kg−1 NaHCO3-extractable P, adding 0, 25, 50, or 100 kg P ha−1. A rotary cultivator (ROTO) soil-disturbance treatment gave plots more severe disturbance than CT, and a no-till hand-plant (NTHP) treatment gave plots with minimal soil disturbance. Early season P uptake and mycorrhizal colonization were stimulated in the NT and NTHP treatments. The reverse was true for shoot dry mass. Early season responses to tillage treatments were the same at each of the fertilizer rates. Yields increased with increasing fertilization. At all rates of P, yields with the CT and ROTO treatments were similar to each other, as were yields with the NT and NTHP treatments. At low soil-P fertility, NT and CT gave similar yields. However, at and above 50 kg P ha−1, yields in CT exceeded those in NT by 1000 kg ha−1. We expect that under P-limiting conditions, NT could give increases in yield over CT, or similar yields could be achieved in NT and CT but at lower soil-P availability in NT, but only if the early season growth depression in NT can be overcome.

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