Submitted to: Strategies Techniques and Tactics Guaranteed to Increase your No Till Profi
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: January 8, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Farmers need to understand residue management and compaction to successfully implement no-till farming systems. Information from published studies is presented to explain the effects of residue and compaction management on corn growth and yield. A study that examined the effect of moving residue away from the corn seed row at planting was discussed. In general, this study showed that as the residue-free band centered on the seed row got wider, the corn emergence and yield approached that of bare soil. Clearing a 6-inch wide band resulted in only a 3% yield reduction and left 79% of the soil surface protected from erosion. On sunny days, the soil temperature at seed depth below a 6-inch wide residue-free band was up to 16 deg F warmer than at the same depth under residue in the interrow only a couple of inches away. Because the growing point of corn is below the soil surface until the fifth stage, soil temperature influences the early growth of corn. In many years, the cool temperatures found under the residue would limit early corn growth. A reduction in early growth doesn't always reduce yield, but it can reduce yield potential. Most farmers don't know whether they have a compaction problem in their fields or not, but compaction can be especially serious in no-till. Information was presented showing that even relatively light axle loads can drastically reduce infiltration and corn root growth in a wheel track. Corn yields were reduced when corn was planted into a wheel track. The trench profile method for examining root growth was explained so that the farmers and consultants present could use this technique for field evaluations of compaction problems.