Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 30, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Crop residues on the soil surface may conserve water and increase crop yields by reducing soil water evaporation prior to planting and during the growing season. High water use crops such as corn can benefit from the enhanced soil water. We grew short season corn under limited irrigation in a rain shelter facility that has lysimeters containing cores of silty clay loam, silt loam, and sandy loam. A growing season flat straw mulch of 4 M ha**-1 applied at emergence in 1994 had no effect on grain or biomass yields, but in 1995 a mulch of 6.7 Mg ha**-1 increased grain yield by 17%, biomass by 19%, and grain water use efficiency (WUE) by 14% compared with the non-mulched surfaces. The corn in the silt loam had significantly greater yields and WUE in both years compared with the corn in the other two soils. The corn in the clay loam produced slightly lower yields and WUE compared with that in the sandy loam. Total water use was similar for the mulched and non-mulched surfaces each year.