Submitted to: Southern Conservation Tillage for Sustainable Agriculture Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/24/2002
Publication Date: 6/24/2002
Citation: RACZKOWSKI, C.W., REDDY, G.B., REYES, M.R., GAYLE, G.A., BUSSCHER, W., BAUER, P., BROCK, B. NO-TILLAGE PERFORMANCE ON A PIEDMONT SOIL. SOUTHERN CONSERVATION TILLAGE FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROCEEDINGS. 2002. P. 273-276.
Technical Abstract: Many Piedmont soils in southeast USA are crust-prone and develop low infiltration rates. Maintaining residue cover may reduce surface sealing and decrease surface water runoff, soil loss and the loss of agricultural chemicals. The effectiveness of no-tillage (NT) to reduce runoff, erosion and the loss of chemicals from row crops relative to the conventional plow/disk practice (CT) was investigated. Over a 5-year period, reductions in runoff in NT relative to CT were 22% during cropping periods and 35% during non-cropping periods. Runoff reduction also fostered a decrease in the loss of soil, nutrients and herbicides. Soil loss reductions were predominant during cropping periods especially during erosive rainstorms following tillage and seedbed preparation. On the average, CT had 59 times more soil loss than NT during cropping periods (23.4 vs. 0.4 ton/acre) and 4 times more soil loss during non-cropping periods (1.7 vs. 0.4 ton/acre). Crop growth and grain yield were generally greater in NT; this was attributed to greater soil water content. The formation of a seal soon following planting in CT explained the greater runoff and lower soil water content in this system. Tillage practices leaving crop residues on the soil surface, such as NT, can reduce surface runoff, soil loss, and loss of nutrients and herbicides while increasing crop growth and yield.