Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Brookings, South Dakota » Integrated Cropping Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #209637

Title: Tillage Management and Previous Crop Effects on Soil Physical Properties

item Riedell, Walter
item Pikul Jr, Joseph
item Osborne, Shannon

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/7/2007
Publication Date: 3/10/2007
Citation: Riedell, W.E., Pikul Jr, J.L., Osborne, S.L., Schumacher, T.E. 2007. Tillage Management and Previous Crop Effects on Soil Physical Properties. p.1. In: R. Gelderman (ed.) Proceedings Professional Soil Scientists Association of South Dakota Annual Meeting, Huron, South Dakota.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Because of the potential positive effects of diverse crop rotations and no-till soil management on crop productivity and soil resource conservation, research to remove the constraints to widespread adoption of these crop and soil management practices in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota is a priority. Our research objectives were to characterize soil physical properties and maize yield under tilled and no-till soil management, and to investigate the potential role of the previous crop on these parameters. A field experiment was conducted at the Eastern South Dakota Soil and Water Research Farm in 2003 and 2004. Main plots were soil management treatments (tillage consisting of fall disk and spring disk/harrow; or no-till) and subplots were crop rotation (corn/soybean or corn/soybean/spring wheat/winter wheat). Soil penetration resistance (hand-held recording penetrometer) and bulk density (gravimetric methods), to a depth of 30 cm, were measured at the V6 corn growth stage. In the fall of 2004, soil penetration resistance to a depth of 90 cm was measured using a tractor-mounted recording penetrometer. Grain yield was measured using a combine equipped with an electronic weigh bucket. In the top 20 cm of the soil profile, penetration resistance and bulk density values were greater under no-till than under tilled soil management. This increased penetration resistance in no-till appeared to be independent of soil type and soil carbon concentration. Below 30 cm soil depth, penetration resistance measurements appeared to be dependent only upon soil type. The bulk density and penetration resistance values recorded under no-till in the top 30 cm of the soil profile exceeded critical values where root growth would be significantly impaired. Thus root growth may have been reduced under the no-till treatments compared with the tilled treatment. No-till corn following soybean as well as tilled corn following soybean or winter wheat all had similar yields. No-till corn following winter wheat had lower yields than the other treatments. Cooler soil temperatures under no-till soil management following winter wheat (compared with the tilled treatment) may have contributed to these lower yields. We conclude that higher bulk density and penetration resistance levels under no-till soil management, along with cool soil conditions that typically occur in the spring in this region of the corn belt, could work together to reduce maize yield under no-till in soils with low internal drainage. It is likely that additional research and development into residue management systems or strip tillage systems will be needed to develop crop and soil management systems that address this problem.