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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Spatial and Temporal Variability of Corn Grain Yield on a Hillslope


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 62 No. 3, p. 764-773
    Received: Oct 25, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s): dtimlin@asrr.arsusda.gov
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  1. D. J. Timlin ,
  2. Ya. Pachepsky,
  3. V. A. Snyder and
  4. R. B. Bryant
  1. USDA-ARS, Remote Sensing and Modeling Lab., Bldg. 007, Rm. 008, BARC-West, Beltsville, MD 20705
    Dep. of Botany, Duke Univ., Durham, NC 27708
    College of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 21360, Rio Piedras, PR 00928
    Dep. of Soil, Crop, and Atmospheric Sciences, Bradfield Hall, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853



The purpose of this study was to relate the temporal and spatial variability of corn (Zea mays L.) grain yield on a Typic Fragiochrept soil on a hillslope to soil properties and topographic features. Corn grain yields were sampled from a field that measured 280 by 150 m using a grid and five transects. One-hundred forty yield measurements were taken on the grid (1983–1985) and 190 measurements on the transects (1984 and 1985) from plots 5.3 m long and two corn rows wide. Measurements of soil surface elevation, soil organic matter (OM), P, and K contents were also taken at the grid plot locations. These data were analyzed using the methods of spectral analysis. Yield spatial and temporal variability was strongly related to surface undulations and the value of surface curvature was found to be a useful parameter to quantify variations in topography. The intra-annual differences in weather had the largest effect on grain yield at locations where the magnitude of curvature was large. Where the magnitude of curvature was small, the correlations of yield for the wet (1984) and dry (1985) years were highly significant. Yields correlated with soil P, K, and OM only in the dry year, 1985. Yields in the relatively dry years (1983 and 1985) correlated with depth to fragipan. Elevation data helped us interpret the spatial and temporal variability of grain yield by separation of areas with convex curvature from areas with concave curvature.

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