Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2004
Publication Date: 11/1/2004
Citation: Franzluebbers, A.J., Stuedemann, J.A. 2004. Yield and soil properties under two crop/grazing rotations under inversion and no tillage. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meetings, CDROM, Seattle, Washington, 31 October - 4 November 2004.
Interpretive Summary: Successful integration of crop and livestock production in the southeastern USA could reduce threats of agriculture to the environment, increase agricultural production efficiency, lower risk, and potentially generate greater profit. Scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Watkinsville Georgia have implemented a field experiment to test the effects of tillage, cropping system, and grazing cattle on grain yield, cattle production, and environmental quality. During the first few seasons of this long-term experiment, grain yields were similar between conventional and no tillage. However, cover crop biomass available as a forage was greater under no tillage than under conventional tillage. Initially high surface-soil organic matter due to rotation following long-term pasture was preserved with no-tillage cropping. Results are yet incomplete to make a system-level assessment, but these initial results suggest that crop and livestock producers in the southeastern USA could (1) use no tillage crop production following pasture renovation to preserve soil organic matter and (2) effectively integrate cattle onto cover crops without harming subsequent grain crops.
Technical Abstract: Integration of crops and livestock could provide benefits to both production systems, as well as provide economic opportunities and environmental protection. With soil organic C and N at high levels following termination of perennial pasture on a Typic Kanhapludult, we determined crop yield, animal production, and various soil properties during the first two years of two cropping systems (sorghum/rye and wheat/millet) managed under conventional tillage (CT) or no tillage (NT) and whether cover crop was grazed by cattle or not. Wheat and sorghum grain yields were unaffected by tillage regime and whether previous cover crop was grazed by cattle or not. Ungrazed cover crop biomass production was greater under NT than CT for both millet and rye. Cattle live-weight gain was not different between tillage systems. These initial results suggest that (1) NT is preserving the benefits of long-term accumulation of organic matter following perennial pasture and (2) no negative effect of cattle grazing cover crops is being carried over to subsequent grain crops.