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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Agroecosystems Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #254980

Title: Effect of corn or soybean row position on soil water

item Logsdon, Sally
item Sauer, Thomas
item HERNANDEZ-RAMIREZ, GUILLERMO - Plant And Food Research
item Hatfield, Jerry
item KALEITA, AMY - Iowa State University
item Prueger, John

Submitted to: Soil Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/3/2010
Publication Date: 11/10/2010
Citation: Logsdon, S.D., Sauer, T.J., Hernandez-Ramirez, G., Hatfield, J.L., Kaleita, A., Prueger, J.H. 2010. Effect of corn or soybean row position on soil water. Soil Science. 175(11):530-534.

Interpretive Summary: Crop plants can increase soil water content near the plant by funneling water down the leaves to the stems and soil. Leaves that are less upright can drip water away from the stem. Zones of higher water can lead to more rapid runoff or leaching of chemicals from the soil than if soil water were uniform. This study showed that during rain events both corn and soybean plants can cause more soil wetting in the crop row than the interrow when the crop canopies are developed. Also more roots in the row can dry the soil more between rains. This information is important for researchers who wish to understand soil water patterns and potential runoff and leaching losses, and for those who write simulation models to describe soil water, runoff, and leaching.

Technical Abstract: Crop plants can funnel water to the soil and increase water content more in the row relative to the interrow. Because the row intercepts more soil water after rains and higher root density, the soil may also dry out more between rains than does soil in the interrow. The purpose of this study was to determine if soil in the interrow increases more in water content than the interrow due to rain and dries more between rain events. The first experiment examined soil water content 0-.06 m in row, interrow and quarter corn row positions for eight sites at specific times during a corn (Zea mays L.) growing season. During the growing season, the second experiment examined automated soil water measurements at one site for two corn years and one soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] year at row and interrow positions to 0.15 m depth. Soil water content changes were significantly greater in the row than the interrow for some mid season dates. Temporal soil water changes showed that row wetting and drying dominated over interrow soil water changes for mid season. The mean ratio of row / (row + interrow) soil water changes for wetting was 0.76 and 0.77 for corn and 0.64 for soybean and for drying was 0.58 and 0.84 for corn and 0.60 for soybean. Soybean showed the row effect for a shorter time of the season (up to 71 days) compared with corn (up to 159 days).