Submitted to: Weed Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 28, 2008
Publication Date: March 21, 2008
Citation: Anderson, R.L. 2008. Residue management tactics for corn following spring wheat. Weed Technology. 22:177-181. Interpretive Summary: Producers occasionally grow corn after spring wheat. Crop residues left on the soil surface after spring wheat harvest can reduce corn growth and yield in the next year, especially if the early part of the growing season is cool and wet. We compared five management approaches with spring wheat residue for impact on corn yield. Corn yielded similarly among all treatments, if a starter fertilizer of N and P fertilizer was placed by corn seed at planting. Weed densities were higher after conventional tillage and corn yield were reduced 40% by weeds. In contrast, yield loss due to weeds was only 15% when corn was planted into a system where residue had been removed from a strip that was 15 cm wide. This tactic allowed soil temperature around the corn seed to warm up faster. Wheat residue can be managed without deleteriously affecting corn yield.
Technical Abstract: Producers are interested in tactics for managing crop residues when growing corn after spring wheat. We compared five systems of managing spring wheat residues: conventional tillage, no-till, strip-till, cover crop (hairy vetch) with no-till, and cover crop with strip-till following spring wheat. Conventional tillage consisted of chisel plowing and disking whereas strip-till consisted of tilling a 15-cm band centered on corn rows, which were spaced 76 cm apart. Plots were split into weed-free and weed-infested subplots. Grain yield in weed-free conditions did not differ among treatments. However, weed-free yield was nearly 40% greater than weed-infested corn in conventional tillage. In contrast, weeds reduced yield only 15% with strip-till. Weed density and biomass was twofold greater with conventional tillage compared with the no-till and strip-till treatments. Weed seedlings also emerged earlier with conventional tillage. Increased weed tolerance with strip-till may be related to fertilizer placement. Corn growth and tolerance to weeds in no-till may be improved when a starter fertilizer is placed in the seed furrow.