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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effect of Tillage System and Fertilizer N Rate and Timing on Corn Yield in the Blackland Prairie

Authors
item Torbert, Henry
item Potter, Kenneth
item Morrison Jr, John

Submitted to: Proceedings Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 6, 2000
Publication Date: March 6, 2000
Citation: Torbert, H.A., Potter, K.N., Morrison, J.E. Effect of tillage system and fertilizer N rate and timing on corn yield in the Blackland Prairie. Proceedings of the Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference. 2000. v. 8. p. 238-241.

Interpretive Summary: Because of problems with erosion, research has been conducted to develop N conservation tillage systems to improve agricultural sustainability on the Blackland Prairie of Texas. Because fertilizer is one on the most expensive parts of crop production, part of this effort entailed examining the effects of fertilizer N management in this region. In 1994, an experiment was established to determine the N fertility plant response as affected by different rates of N fertilizer and different times for fertilizer N application within different tillage systems. Plant samples were collected for grain yield, biomass production, and N uptake in corn crop in four different years. With corn in good years, fertilizer N application up to 168 kg ha**-1 increased yields, and application during the fall resulted in as much as 30 percent average reduction in yield compared with fertilizer application at planting. The best yields were observed with the no tillage system, with large differences observed between tillage systems in a drought year.

Technical Abstract: An effort was undertaken to develop N management and conservation tillage systems to improve agricultural sustainability on the Blackland Prairie of Texas. In 1994, an experiment was established to determine the N fertility plant response as affected by N fertilizer rate and timing within different tillage systems. A split plot experiment with 4 replications was established on a Houston Black (fine, montmorillonitic, thermic Udic Pellusterts) soil. The main plots were chisel tillage and no tillage planted on permanent raised wide beds. The subplots were eight different soil fertility treatments, with different fertility rates (0-168 kg N ha**-1) and application timing (fall, at planting, and split application). To determine the impact of wide beds, the fertility treatments were also conducted on chisel tillage system without wide beds. The experimental treatments were imposed on corn (Zea mays L.) each year for four years. Plant samples were collected for grain yield, biomass production, and N uptake in each of the three crops. With corn in good years, fertilizer N application up to 168 kg ha**-1 increased yields, and application during the fall resulted in as much as 30 percent average reduction in yield compared with fertilizer application at planting. The best yields were observed with the no tillage system, with large differences observed between tillage systems in a drought year.

Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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