Submitted to: Southern Conservation Tillage for Sustainable Agriculture Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/3/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: In the southeastern Coastal Plains, fire ants (Solenopsis invicta Buren) can, at times, produce significant numbers of mounds per acre. It was our objective to analyze amount and shape of soil disruption within conventional and innovative (conservation) tillage systems and determine if management system affects disruption of soil by ants. Using strength probes with detachable handles, soil disruption by fire ants was measured in a field split on conventional and innovative tillage management systems. Soil strength readings were also taken near the fire ant mounds to measure conditions outside the mounds. Preliminary results show that the conventional treatment had a greater volume of soil disruption by ant activity while the innovative treatment had greater depth of disruption. When readings taken in the mounds were corrected for strength readings taken outside the mounds, innovative management had greater depth and volume of soil loosening as a result of ant activity than conventional management, probably because innovative deep tillage disrupted more of the subsoil than conventional tillage. The deeper disruption in the innovative treatment may cause more rapid leaching of surface applied nutrients and pesticides.