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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #73019


item Morrison Jr, John

Submitted to: International Conference on Agricultural Machinery Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/22/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Farmers need a management alternative between "minimum-tillage" and "no- till". Minimum-tillage usually involves one or several minimum-impact tillage operations to the entire surface of a field. No-till procedures leave the surface of a field intact, except for very narrow slots cut for seeding and fertilizer application. Both of these systems of crop production conserve soil, water, and environmental resources, but may not be appropriate or optimum for some combinations of soil, climate, and crops. A potential alternative is to use "row zone tillage" to leave at least 75% of the field surface non-tilled and protected by old crop residues, while appropriate tillage procedures are conducted in the row- zones where the next crop will be planted. This paper explains row-zone tillage adaptability and management alternatives. Row-zone tillage implements are described. Current literature is reviewed and data from ongoing experiments with cotton and corn are summarized to show that row- zone systems can have positive effects on improving plant stand establishment and growth. This information will encourage expanded research, farmer acceptance, and machinery industry interest in providing new implements for row-zone systems.

Technical Abstract: "Row-Zone Tillage" systems apply tillage procedures only to narrow strips of land where the next crop rows will be planted. Tilled zones are no more than 25% of the field area. The tillage procedures for crop production are conservative, wherein the soil remains partially covered with protective residues while crops are planted, fertilized, grown, and harvested in the row-zones. Specially adapted implements are being developed for these operations. There is a potential for minimizing farm machinery inventories. Limited crop response data are available from Canada and the USA. Row-zone tillage experiments with cotton in 1995 resulted in improved plant stand establishment for row-zone chisel- knifing over no-till procedures. In 1996, corn emergence was improved over no-till by shallow row-zone tillage one day before planting. Use of row-zone tillage provides more management options than no-till procedures, with benefits for environmental protection and crop production.