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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Integrated Cropping Systems Research

Title: Impact of corn residue quantity on yield of following crops

item Anderson, Randal

Submitted to: Western Society of Weed Science Research Reports
Publication Type: Research Notes
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/29/2013
Publication Date: 3/29/2013
Citation: Anderson, R.L. 2013. Impact of corn residue quantity on yield of following crops. Western Society of Weed Science Research Reports. Pages 90-91. (Research Note)

Interpretive Summary: Producers are often hesitant to add alternative crops to their rotations because of possible economic penalties due to low crop value. We have found that corn yields are similar at lower crop densities when dry pea is the preceding crop rather than soybean. This benefit can save 25 to 35$ per acre due to lower seed costs. A second benefit is that crops following corn yield more when less corn residue is lying on the soil surface with no-till. Thus, producers can gain a second financial benefit from dry pea synergism to corn reducing the need for high density of corn plants. The benefits of crop diversity may exist even in years beyond the initial crop sequence.

Technical Abstract: We have observed that crop growth can be suppressed in fields where high quantities of corn residue are present on the soil surface. To examine this perceived trend, we grew dry pea, spring wheat, and red clover in two levels of corn residues, achieved by growing corn at 21,000 and 30,000 plants/ac. A tilled (no surface residue) treatment was included for comparison. Final crop yield (forage in red clover; grain with dry pea and spring wheat) for all crops was less when crop residues were on the soil surface, especially in the high residue treatment. Averaged across crops, yield loss was 26% at the high residue level and 14% at the low residue treatment. Yield loss reflected reduced stand establishment of all crops by residue. The large seed crops, dry pea and spring wheat, were less affected by residue treatments. Our interest in the lower corn population is based on previous research which showed that when following dry pea, corn yielded the same planted at 21,000 plants/ac compared with 30,000 plants/ac when corn followed soybean. Understanding the interaction between crops will provide guidelines in developing more diversified rotations in the western Corn Belt.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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