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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Oxford, Mississippi » National Sedimentation Laboratory » Water Quality and Ecology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376359

Research Project: Strategic Investigations to Improve Water Quality and Ecosystem Sustainability in Agricultural Landscapes

Location: Water Quality and Ecology Research

Title: Conservation Production Systems in the Mid-Southern USA: III. Zone Tillage for Furrow-Irrigated Soybean

Author
item BRYANT, COREY - University Of Georgia
item KRUTZ, LARRY - Mississippi State University
item REYNOLDS, DANIEL - Mississippi State University
item Locke, Martin
item GOLDEN, BOBBY - Mississippi State University
item IRBY, TRENT - Mississippi State University
item Steinriede, Robert - Wade
item SPENCER, G - Mississippi State University
item MILLS, B - Mississippi State University
item WOOD, C - Growers Holdings, Inc

Submitted to: Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/9/2020
Publication Date: 7/16/2020
Citation: Bryant, C.J., Krutz, L.J., Reynolds, D.B., Locke, M.A., Golden, B.R., Irby, T., Steinriede Jr, R.W., Spencer, G.D., Mills, B.E., Wood, C.W. 2020. Conservation Production Systems in the Mid-Southern USA: III. Zone Tillage for Furrow-Irrigated Soybean. Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management. 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1002/cft2.20057.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/cft2.20057

Interpretive Summary: Adopting no-tillage in soybean systems is recommended to capture associated environmental benefits. In irrigated soybeans, raised seed-beds are often used for optimum water distribution and drainage; however, beds require maintenance, and this cannot be done in no-tillage systems. Zone tillage is a potential minimum tillage practice where soybeans are planted flat but with a shallow furrow created between rows using a flat sweep to facilitate drainage. Research was conducted to determine if zone tillage systems, with and without a cover crop, could maintain yield, profitability, and water use efficiency relative to that of a conservation tillage system with subsoiling. For the parameters evaluated, zone tillage with or without cover crops were equivalent to that of conservation tillage system with subsoiling, indicating that zone tillage can be used to capture environmental benefits of reduced tillage while maintaining productivity and profit.

Technical Abstract: Mid-southern USA soybean producers are being pushed to adopt no-tillage systems to capture the associated environmental benefits; however, adoption is minimal due to the need for raised seed-beds for irrigation and drainage purposes. This research was conducted to determine if zone tillage systems, with and without a tillage radish (Raphanus sativus L. var. longipinnatus) cover crop, can maintain yield, profitability, and water use efficiency relative to that of a conservation tillage system with subsoiling. The effects of conservation systems on soybean [Glycine max (L). Merr.] grain yield, net returns above specified costs, and water use efficiency were investigated near Stoneville, MS on a Dubbs silt loam (Fine-silty, mixed, active, thermic Typic Hapludalfs). Relative to a conservation tillage system with subsoiling, switching to a zone tillage system with or without a cover crop had no effect on soybean grain yield, net returns above specified costs, or water use efficiency (P = 0.4694). Our data indicate that mid-southern USA soybean productivity and profitability are maintained in zone-tillage systems.