Location: Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research
Title: Evaluation of strip-tillage and fertilizer placement in Southern Idaho corn production Authors
Submitted to: Proceedings of the Idaho Nutrient Management Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 11, 2008
Publication Date: March 4, 2008
Citation: Tarkalson, D.D., Bjorneberg, D.L. 2008. Evaluation of strip-tillage and fertilizer placement in Southern Idaho corn production. In: Proceedings of the Idaho Nutrient Management Conference, March 4, 2008, Jerome, Idaho. p. 36-41. Technical Abstract: Strip tillage (ST) and associated nutrient placement can potentially help producers reduce fuel and machinery costs, increase yield, and reduce soil erosion compared to chisel tillage (CT). This study was initiated to evaluate corn production (Zea mays L.) under ST and CT, and various nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilizer placements. The effects of tillage practice and N and P placement on grain and biomass yield of field corn was assessed on two sites at the USDA-ARS Northwest Irrigation & Soils Research Laboratory at Kimberly, ID with different levels of soil fertility and productivity. Two sites were selected in a furrow irrigated field that had been previously cropped to alfalfa. Site A was located in the top half of the field and Site B was located in the bottom half of the field. Site A had lower levels of soil organic C (OC) and soil test P and K compared to Site B. The treatments were 1) ST with deep placement of N and broadcast P; 2) ST with 2 by 2 placement of N and broadcast P; 3) ST with deep placement of N and P; 4) CT with 2 by 2 placement of N and broadcast P; and 5) CT with broadcast N and P. The grain yields at Site A were greater for ST compared to CT. The deep band placement of N and P with ST had a yield (175 bu/acre) advantage of 23 and 16 bu/acre over both CT treatments, respectively and increased yields to levels similar to the average of Site B (178 bu/acre). No differences in grain yield occurred at Site B for all treatments. There were no differences in biomass yield of corn at the VT (tassel) growth stage and grain harvest time at both sites. The average total dry matter biomass at grain harvest time was 9.1 and 10.4 tons acre-1 averaged over all treatments, respectively. Data from year one of this study indicates that ST and deep band placement of N and P increased corn grain yield over CT and conventional fertilizer placement methods in highly eroded low fertile soils. Irrespective of the potential yield increases there may be an economic advantage associated less fuel due to less tillage passages with ST compared to CT.